It was in the summer of 2017 that Mr. Michael David Rosenberg (more commonly known as Passenger to the public, but we just thought the name game was too strong to pass up on) announced on his social media that after many years of hard work, it was time for him to take a break. A holiday if you will, spending some time away from music to focus on his personal life, the selfish git! Well… He did leave us with ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf‘, which was probably the most understated, under-hyped and under-appreciated record of his career and an easy contender for being one of the year’s best releases (just check out the below track for proof).
However, just over a year later and he’s back with a new album in the form of ‘Runaway’, a collection of songs which simply scream “I’m going through/have recently been through a nasty break-up and I may or may not have f***ed a few things up”. Which isn’t exactly anything new to Singer/Songwriters wielding acoustic guitars, but that feels kind of apt. As much as we’re very happy to see the return of one of Brighton’s best songsmiths, it matches it’s subject matter in that it’s nothing new.
What we have here is a selection of run-of-the mill love and loss tunes, lacking the creative spark and lyrical witticisms that we’ve come to grow so fond of within Passenger’s tunes, replaced instead with something that feels functional, if at times a little lifeless. Opener ‘Hell Or High Water‘ kicks things off with a strong start, with plenty of melancholy and heart-ache to get you in the mood for some serious soul searching. it’s a song that gets us up to a decent pace, before then activating the cruise control and leaving it on for the duration of the journey. This being the case save for a mid-point break with the stripped back elegance of ‘Ghost Town‘, which in itself is hauntingly beautiful, particularly with poignant lyrics as such: “But sometimes it gets so cold down here. Well I swear it burns. The wind like fire coming off of the Great Lakes. Sometimes it gets so dark in here, oh I see it turn, the emptiness that moves within my soul. We’re down in a ghost town“. It’s may not be amusing like some of his other works, but it’s the sort of artistic wordplay that made us fall in love with Passenger in the first place.
So, you’re probably wondering if ‘Runaway’ is worth your listening time, to which we would have to answer that it is. However, be aware that this is neither a high or low point in his brilliant discography. but simply another addition that while being totally inoffensive in any way, is almost too inoffensive to really stand out.