By Martha Kowalski
Let me tell you about a poem that a young man wrote about his move to Los Angeles while trying to salvage a failing relationship and juggle career struggles; it’s titled These Two Windows by Alec Benjamin.
Somethings are hard to articulate; a poem that speaks to you louder and deeper than anything else as if it were written just for you. Maybe that feeling best describes These Two Windows, so let me take you back to high school English class and try to analyze and describe it for you.
Let’s start with some important rhetorical devices: similes and metaphors are the very essence of this poem, even in the title. These Two Windows – windows into the world, into the soul: the eyes. And what does our author see through these two windows? How does he see himself? Who is he talking to – someone else or just himself? To answer these questions read the first stanza. Then read all ten. Let the words sink in. Isn’t that the point of it all anyway? To understand, to feel, to wonder? I’ve read my fair share of books and poems and I know that there isn’t just one meaning for anything and that meanings can change.
Part of writing poetry is to create meaning in every word and verse, to not let a single word go to waste and that’s what These Two Windows does. Except that this poem is actually Alec Benjamin’s first studio album. Benjamin’s songs aren’t just music; the lyrics aren’t just words; the entire album is a story – full of heartbreak about a dream that isn’t translated into reality, but also holding a trace of hope that it has to get better eventually, even if it’s out of reach.
I could tell you about all the beautiful words, the hidden symbolism, and the powerful metaphors that hit you with a brilliant realization once you figure them out. The strange thing is that the words aren’t peaceful, but they make you feel calm. Benjamin paired thoughtful lyrics with matching music: simple piano intros and outros with building complex layers of basslines, beats and violin crescendos in “Oh My God” – as if he started with piano, went through his whole journey like the song, and returned to the piano from the beginning full circle. The drums in “Match in the Rain” are like a heartbeat or pounding rain. Every melody manages to correlate nicely with the intricate, at times verbose, lyrics to create a harmonious sound with words that themselves fork lightning.
There are times when I can easily pick one or two favorite songs off an album; that is not the case here. Each of the tracks of These Two Windows has earned a spot on my repeats, like the verses of a poem that cannot be complete without each line.