With her single, “I Am The Sun,” singer/songwriter Brooke Benson repeats: “If you follow your heart/You can never go wrong.” This is a phrase so often repeated, it’s become a cliché. But is it true? The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, would beg to differ. He once wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” This doesn’t read like a heart worth following.
The song’s instrumentation applies a kind of Eastern European folk sonic intro – highlighted by fiddle. Benson doesn’t so much sing the song, as recite it – like a poet. Furthermore, Benson doesn’t just sound like a poet; she writes like one, too. Her lyrics are filled with striking imagery. This is far above pop music’s typical moon-in-June bar-set-low wordplay. She sings on the chorus: “I am the sun and you are the sea.” Here she uses elements in nature to draw a bigger picture.
Oh, and Benson doesn’t so much sing, as she converses with her audience. Listening to this song can sometimes seem like listening in to one side of a conversation. The end of the song escalates from something folky, to a sound much more soulful. Benson, in her best vocal moments, sounds a bit like Annie Lennox of Eurythmics. The song truly builds and gains momentum, from beginning till end.
This song is so strong musically because Benson worked with some of Los Angeles’ best. One of the project’s guitarists is Eric McFadden, who has played with George Clinton and The P-Funk All Stars. No, this is not any sort of P-funk. But the guitar playing is topnotch. One of the band’s drummers is DJ Bonebrake, which may not be a household name for many. When you realize he’s the drummer with X, perhaps the best punk band Los Angeles ever produced, you realize right away this is one of the greats. However, for this song, violinist Chris Murphy is the standout player. He plays it all, including jazz, blues, country, classical, electronic and ethnic. He also has a connection with Bonebrake, having collaborated with him on a violin/drums duo. One can only imagine how cool that is!
The song gets both quieter and more intense toward the end. It’s almost as though Benson doesn’t have enough time to say everything that’s on her mind, so she works it even harder just to try and get it all in. She sounds to be a poet, first; she loves words and images. And a musician, a close second. Many times, poetry and music don’t go together too well. It’s almost as though the music part is a distraction. However, Benson has found just the right formula. This song puts her words to an insistent, driving groove that doesn’t let up – just as her wordplay never lags.
Saying “I am the moon,” is quite a bold statement. Brooke Benson lives up to it, though. She captures the grandeur of nature with her grandiose poetic music. Thankfully, hip hop music has made lyrical wordplay cool again. If rap music isn’t your cup of tea, but smart pop music is, this is a song and an artist well worth your attention.