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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Different Kind Of Beautiful" - Alec Benjamin

The title of Alec Benjamin's Atlantic-debut mixtape, Narrated for You, keenly encapsulated the storytelling appeal of the multi-platinum singer/songwriter. Songs, such as the Platinum hit "Water Fountain," exhaled the artist's lovesick POV with a longing sigh. Benjamin has a way of seemingly condensing a full novel into a single poem without losing the vivid detail. His latest single, teasing towards an upcoming album, sharpens all of the artist's strengths in a decisive step into himself. "Different Kind Of Beautiful" captures the emo-tinged aesthetic alt-pop of the early-to-mid 2010's so effectively, you'd think it emerged from a time capsule. Over a swaying instrumental, the "Let Me Down Slowly" singer crams words into the verses, allowing syllables to spill over each line. Benjamin's use of language is foundational, holding up the song's structure with how much or little he chooses to fill the space. It's this quality that allows the instrumentation to focus solely on setting the mood. Swells of strings and layers of crooning vocals add a lush dimension to the song. Producer duo Stargate brings out the best in Benjamin, positioning his voice (both figuratively and literally) in the forefront of "Different Kind Of Beautiful," enriching it with a polished backdrop.

Often, the intrigue of Benjamin's lyricism rest most in his point of view when recounting events. "I place an order, a tip in the jar: a couple of dollars I found in my car," he describes. The scene is an ordinary one, but he colors it with insight into his character. Lyrics like this give the feeling of rambling, as though Benjamin quickly grabbed a napkin and scratched them down, but the construction is made with clear intent. When he spots the object of his affection, the Phoenix-raised singer charmingly freezes up. "Mind out of order and heart on my sleeve," he flushes, once again revitalizing well-worn tropes with his character study. Awestruck by beauty, Benjamin chokes out that it "takes my breath away." He delivers the line with the right conviction to pull it off. From the love-addled brain of our protagonist, "Different Kind Of Beautiful" feels steeped in this syrupy romanticism rather than diluted by it.

First gaining notoriety playing DIY shows outside concerts, that Alec Benjamin is now a multi-platinum artist is something of a triumph. From singing in parking lots to selling out international tours, there's undeniable talent behind the singer/songwriter's meteoric rise. Now, Benjamin is preparing for the release of his third studio album in 2024 on Elektra Records. This follows a sold-out UK tour promoting his sophomore album, (Un)Commentary. Standing atop more than eight-billion global streams, his already impressive discography continues to grow upon each release. With "Different Kind Of Beautiful," Benjamin continues to climb higher with his trademark songwriting.

Written By Andy M.

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