Release Date: Jun 10, 2014
Record label: Nettwerk
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Folk
If Ed Sheeran didn't exist, Mike "Passenger" Rosenberg would probably be the deceptively wimpish balladeer bringing home the Brit and Ivor Novello awards. Despite scoring one of 2013's biggest singles with Let Her Go, Rosenberg is still a relative unknown – something alluded to on this album's title track: "Everyone's feeling the ugly noise/ I don't know what they're talking about/ All I need's a whisper in a world that only shouts. " His whisper – actually, more a snaggle-toothed rasp – is a vehicle for some characterful observations: Rosenberg's strength is storytelling, and Whispers brims with striking vignettes.
British singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg, otherwise known as Passenger, continues exploring the broader sonic palette he developed on 2012's All the Little Lights with his sixth studio album, 2014's Whispers. As he did last time, Rosenberg once again teamed up with All the Little Lights producer Chris Vallejo. Together, they deliver a batch of evocative acoustic folk and indie pop songs that are often expanded with orchestral flourishes.
Last year, after a decade in the game, gentle U.K. folk-pop depressive Mike Rosenberg (a.k.a. Passenger) had a global smash with his feather-soft breakup tune "Let Her Go." Perhaps unsurprisingly, his first album since finding success is somewhat more upbeat. With a gravelly but delicate voice and melodies that can evoke Ed Sheeran, who's a friend, or Cat Stevens, he takes on his indecisive twenties on "Rolling Stone" and "27," attempts a road epic on "Riding to New York," and, on "Scare Away the Dark," implores, "We want something real/Not just hashtags and Twitter." Impressively, he sings it like he thought of that cliché himself.
Although having nothing to do with the Swedish heavy metal band of the same name, this Passenger — the nom de plume of British singer/songwriter Michael Rosenberg — shares the fact that on this side of the Great Pond, they’re all but unknown. That’s a shame, especially considering the fact that their last album, 2012’s All the Little Lights, sufficient kudos to suggest an eminent breakout. That failed to transpire, but happily, a new label association and the gentle folk finesse that permeates their latest effort may bring the anticipated rewards.
There are a lot of words on “Lazaretto,” Jack White’s new solo album, about needing control or needing to relinquish it. They’re tightly wound and threaten to wrest your attention from the music. This is not a bad thing, as his music seems to be going through an uncomfortable relationship with respectability. Sometimes it’s tightly argumentative, weirdly superstructured, assertive in not wanting to be understood too easily.