In honor of the highly-anticipated Cornstock coming up on April 26th, I decided to review Ben Rector’s latest album. Well, first I decided I should listen to it just because he would be there. After he played on my Spotify for two weeks straight, I figured this meant I had some positive opinions on him that I wanted to share.
Ben Rector’s fifth album, The Walking in Between takes happy pop to a whole new level. Every song has a different twist and catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head all day if you’re not careful. “Thank God for the summertime, no cares and I’m doing fine,” in his aptly named song “Thank God for the Summertime” plays as I begrudgingly finish my homework as the snow melts outside. His first song, “Ordinary Love,” has a progressive, pulsing beat that gives the entire album its momentum and showcases his powerful vocals. “Follow You,” my personal favorite, uses the gospel style to create an uplifting and energizing melody. He uses not only gospel, but blues and jazz to his advantage to create songs full of captivating instrumentals.
Each of Rector’s songs on this album demonstrates the different styles he can master and put his own twist on. His lyrics are all positive messages about life that are a perfect cure for a tough day. For example, the title of his album is in “I Like You,” and makes me smile each time I hear it: “Life is not the mountain tops, but the walking in between.”
Rector’s excellent music is contrasted by his humble nature, which surprised me when reading his self-written biography. He was raised in Oklahoma and moved to Nashville after college. The rest of his biography elaborates on how he hopes his listeners enjoy the songs he’s crafted. I can say he is spot-on with these hopes of his.
Other artists like Rector all have that upbeat and energizing quality about them, have the powerful vocals, and instrumental abilities to boot, but what I find different and appreciate about him is his willingness to experiment with different genres of music to make his own style so interesting and unique.
While this entire album is very upbeat and invigorating, I wonder how Rector will engage the audience at Cornstock. I love his music, but it isn’t something I would usually dance to. Perhaps this is why he’s paired with Hoodie Allen, so students with different tastes in music are satisfied. I know I can’t wait to finally hear the songs I’ve been listening to performed live.