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Alec Reviews Music: Passenger’s ‘Young as the Morning Old as the Sea’ is passable

It’s been four years since “Let Her Go” dominated the airwaves, and Passenger has come a long way. He recently released his seventh studio album “Young as the Morning Old as the Sea,” and it is a bit of a departure from what fans have grown used to.

English singer-songwriter Michael Rosenberg is better known by his stage name Passenger. Rosenberg started as the main vocalist and songwriter for Passenger, which was a full band back in 2003. The band dissolved in 2009, and Rosenberg has kept the name for his performances. Since then, Rosenberg has now released seven studio albums. His 2012 release of “All The Little Lights” rose him to mainstream fame, with the lead single “Let Her Go” raising to the top of charts around the world. Now following the release of “Whispers” and “Whispers II,” we finally have the anticipated record “Young as the Morning Old as the Sea.”

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“Young as the Morning Old as the Sea” is a 10 track record that clocks out around 40 minutes long. From beginning to end, this record is pretty much the same with very few stand out tracks. We see a departure from that campy pop folk that we have become used to.

There is also less of a narrative structure to the record. This record become something of a self-reflective crawl. It’s Rosenberg, not particularly at his best, just going through the motions. This record is more along the lines of the old adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Musically, nothing is new here on a technical level. Rosenberg has never been the most musically complex songwriter, but with this record we see more of the traditional folk. There are some pretty decent tracks to nod along to, but you won’t find anything in this album playing at a party or a campfire anytime soon. Tracks like “Fool’s Gold” and “When We Were Young” are some of the most musically complex of the album and are really the standout tracks. The rest of the record is more or less the same thing. It all just sounds like the same four chords that have nothing new to say.

Lyrically, there is a shift from storytelling to self-reflection. We hear honestly some of the weakest lyrics from Passenger yet. Simple rhymes and vague language is the name of the game with this record. Tracks like “Young as the Morning Old as the Sea” and “Somebody’s Love” try a little to hard to be relatable. The real crime is that after you move past “If You Go,” which is the second track of the record, you have heard everything this record has to offer in terms of subject matter. It all fades together, making listening to this album more of a chore.

Final Score: 2.5/5

“Young as the Morning Old as the Sea” is not the greatest folk record out there, but it’s not the worst either. There are some decent tracks on here, but as a whole, it’s nothing special. Finding a standout track is like finding a needle in a giant stack of identical needles, which is a long way away from “Let Her Go.” While it’s not the best, its passable. If you are a longtime fan of Passenger, you’ll pick this up no matter what, but if you’re not a big fan, you’re better off just sticking with any of his other records.

If you wanted to catch Passenger live, you will have to wait a little bit. On March 27, he will be performing at Denver’s Ogden Theatre. You can get your tickets at passengermusic.com.

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