December 17, 2017

Benjamin Booker’s “Witness,” impresses with new tone and genre for the artist

Benjamin Booker's newest album "Witness," brings a mew listen to the artist. "Witness," was released on June 5th. Photo courtesy of The 405.

By Connor Kropschot

Online Arts Editor


Soul and rock artist Benjamin Booker’s newest album “Witness” brings a new era of soul to modern times.

Artist Benjamin Booker’s newest album fulfills a new sound to soul and the blues mixing in rock music and lyrics that question society. Booker’s album “Witness,” released June 2nd, shows a new side to the soul artist.

View PHOTOS of Benjamin Booker and his newest album by clicking this link

Benjamin Booker’s “Witness” is his second studio album. His first was titled “Benjamin Booker” and was released in 2014. Booker plays guitar with vocals along with drummer Max Norton.

“Witness” follows Booker’s  views of the world as an African American citizen. Booker wrote “Witness” while on a month long retreat to Mexico, the album shows Booker’s thoughts on the world after he views decades have gone by with no change.

The album shows Booker’s constant improvement over the years after Booker’s first album in 2014. Booker now features music reminiscent of Jack Johnson with songs like “Motivation” where Booker uses slow guitar with mainly vocals.

Booker builds upon his newfound voice steering away from his hard rock type music. With songs like “Witness,”  he keeps the deep soul but adds in background singing and a less intense guitar sound.

“Witness,” brings the listener into the life of an African American citizen stating that racism will never end. Booker asks how many people will witness a crime and not do anything to stop it. The album accurately describes this hardship and Booker’s vocals allow the listener to feel what he is feeling, even if one is not his race.

Although Booker’s newest album is a strength for the artist the album shows lack in preparation for album. Featuring 10 songs and only a 30 minute run time, the album goes by very quickly, and songs seem to finish abruptly.

Benjamin Booker’s “Witness,” still comes off strong for an artist making a second shot at a  big debut. Even with short run times, the whole album flows. Nearly every track changes in genre, yet it’s difficult to tell where one song ends and another starts.

Another strong suit of Booker’s newest album is the use of instruments that complement the album’s feel as well as Booker’s vocals. Booker uses loud guitar with drumming with his loud and heavy rock songs, and when he tones down into the slower songs like “Believe,” he drowns out the heavy guitar and the listener will mainly hear his voice.

Listen to Benjamin Bookers interview with NPR here

Despite the fact that “Witness,” mostly contains a different genre of music that Benjamin Booker listeners are used to, he still manages to keep fans of his old music interested in the album with songs like “Right On You.” The song features Booker’s fast guitar playing and drumming with loud vocals, as Booker purses his lips directly into the mic.

Benjamin Booker’s “Witness,” the artist’s second attempt at a major debut, shows drastic improvement. With various genres to listen to, vocals accompanied by perfect instrumentals, and songs with a deep meaning behind the lyrics, the album is worth the listen.

Listen to the Guardian’s review of “Witness” here 

“Witness,” features 10 songs with a runtime of 30 minutes, and was released on June 2nd. It is available for purchase on iTunes or for streaming on Youtube and Spotify.

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