Trying to stop listening to Benjamin’s music is like “trying to light a match in the rain.”


When COVID-19 caused a world-wide shutdown, birthday candles and spring break were replaced with face masks and         almost-complete isolation. I spent more time on social media, watching celebrities try to uplift spirits and friends struggle mentally and physically. Information (real and fake) began to spread rapidly across platforms. I battled to grasp understanding in a world of unknowns. Little did I know I would soon discover Alec Benjamin, the artist whose music would accompany me throughout high school.

      According to the University of Central Florida, listening to music reduces stress, pain and symptoms of depression. Benjamin’s music has accomplished all of this for me. Through the isolation of virtual learning my freshman year, the loss of relationships, my decision to graduate early and much more; Benjamin had a song for it all–even when, “I’m always stuck in my head” (“Mind is a Prison”). 

   “When the pandemic hit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue to make music,” Benjamin mentioned in an interview for Cleveland Scene. “I didn’t feel like people were having a nuanced conversation about a lot of the stuff that was happening in the world.”

  Benjamin’s newest album, (Un)Commentary, addresses both the philosophical and political aspects of the last three years. Of the 14 songs, “Shadow of Mine” and “Hammers” hold the most meaning for me. While the latter focuses on the effect people can have on each other with small actions, “Shadow of Mine” discusses how some parts of you won’t leave, no matter how hard you try to run away from them. 

   If there’s one point Benjamin’s music has made clear to me, it’s that even when we feel alone, there are others going through similar situations. Music unites people across in ways some would never think possible under our “Paper Crowns.”