Although it only arrives just shy of two years after his debut studio album, These Two Windows, Alec Benjamin’s sophomore effort, (Un)Commentary showcases exponential growth. Throughout the album’s thirteen short, yet stunning tracks, the alt-pop poet looks inward more than ever before, stripping himself down to the core to deliver some of his most lyrically vulnerable work yet. While not one song clocks in at over three minutes, there isn’t one moment that’ll leave fans feeling like he left them hanging. Instead, each story and song feels fully fleshed out and well-rounded.
Opening the album is “Dopamine Addict,” which reminds listeners why they fell in love with Alec Benjamin to begin with, complete with playful, powerful lyrics and jaw-droppingly beautiful vocal runs. Easily setting the tone of the twelve songs that follow, “Dopamine Addict” promises to quickly become a fan-favorite.
Throughout the rest of (Un)Commentary, Alec Benjamin bobs and weaves through emotional highs and lows while also showcasing his sonic growth. Piano driven ballads like “Speakers” and the emotionally darker “Shadow Of Mine” sit easily alongside stunning finger-plucked “Hill I Will Die On”, which touches on the sometimes ridiculous battles that people will choose to fight (a perfectly pertinent track in 2022) and the ironically upbeat “Hipocrite”, which feels like the perfect sequel to the former track.
Rounding out the second half of the album, the epic and cinematic “Devil Doesn’t Bargain” uses metaphoric imagery to encourage someone to get out of an unhealthy relationship while the following track finds Alec Benjamin returning to his roots in creative storytelling with the underdog anthem, “Dinero”. One of the album’s emotional high points comes on the second to last track, “Older” which finds Benjamin proclaiming, “I’m not ready to get older”.
There’s a wonderful sense of urgency to (Un)Commentary that manages to balance Alec Benjamin’s playful and occasionally delicate vocals, powerful lyrical content and genre-shifting sounds in a way that feels more energetic than rushed. Throughout the album’s thirteen songs, there might be a couple of moments where the transition between two songs feels a bit choppy, but otherwise, Alec Benjamin manages to effortlessly pull off the rapid-fire of energetic, emotional, catchy as hell songs without breaking a sweat.