Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / June 4, 2015 , Thu / films & music

I was chatting to Topaz about Ben Howard (over on my other blog, where I implore you to listen to him, because it is a really good life choice), and we both said that Ben is our musical soulmate.

It’s true. I love Ben Howard like I have never loved a musician in my life before. I’ve had plenty of favourites in the past – Angus & Julia Stone, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Boy & Bear, The Paper Kites, Death Cab for Cutie, City & Colour, and Ed Sheeran are the notable ones – but they’ve all been surpassed by another one. That’s not to say I don’t still ardently adore these artists, they just don’t hold the same place in my heart that they once did.

And, to be entirely honest, I don’t think anyone will surpass Ben in my heart.

Everything about his music just nestles right into the deep and dark corners of my heart. His lyrics, his music, his voice – it’s like they were created to fill this little niche inside me that I didn’t even know was there until I listened to his songs for the first time and got this feeling. This kind of ache in my chest at everything that his music does to me.

I don’t cry a lot, or over many things. In fact, the list is quite small (and consists of things like stories about abused animals or animals that triumph [like the bunny kitten], academia [yes, I know], sad moments in movies and TV shows, and of course when I’m hurting over something).

I saw Ben Howard live for the first time last Thursday (and missed the last train home, and ended up spending $250 on a cab but hey, that’s a story for another day), and I was able to sit down and watch the entire time. This is surprising, because the venue is all standing general admission. I’ve been there twice before and had to stand for hours on end waiting for the musician to come out and just start playing already. But for Ben I decided I wanted to watch from the balcony, and I sat down at the railing because it was an hour before the freaking pre-band (I don’t know the actual name but I call them pre-bands) came out, and most everyone on the balcony was sitting down. But even when the lights dimmed, and Ben walked onto the stage, and everyone on the balcony stood up, our little corner didn’t. I turned around, and the girls behind me just looked at me – no desire to stand.

So I got to sit and watch my musical soulmate pour his art into the air.

I have two favourite Ben Howard songs: Depth Over Distance and Only Love (he didn’t play either of them – I actually have really shit luck when it comes to musicians playing my favourite songs), and a favourite collection: Burgh Island EP (which he sang one song from as his final final song in his encore).

So when my eyes filled with tears when Ben was halfway through playing I Forget Where We Were, I was kind of surprised. I’d only ever cried at one concert before, and that was when Death Cab sang Soul Meets Body, and I was holding hands with my best friend, and everything was kind of magical. But there I was, smiling and crying at the same time. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. I mean, Ben’s music has really touched my soul – many times, and for many months.

Anyway, I thought I would tell you guys about my musical soulmate because my last few posts on this blog haven’t exactly been full of positive things.

Out of curiosity: do you have a musical soulmate? Do tell!

P.s. Here’s I Forget Where We Were, if you want to have a listeny (although this is a bit more acoustic than how he played it at my show):


6 Responses to my musical soulmate

  1. Annie says:

    CHIARA YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT BEN. (which on another note, how did I miss your post??) Everything you said about his voice is spot on & the exact reasons why I love him so much. I think the first time I listened to one of his songs was maybe two years ago? And automatically the first thing that struck me was his lyricism and the way his songs seemed to fill a room. I haven’t given a lot of thought to who my musical soulmate is but if I had to say, I think Ben Howard would have to be among the top of my list.

    • Chiara says:

      BEN IS PERF.

      I still remember the first Ben song I ever listened to! It was Keep Your Head Up, and he sang that at the concert I went to, so that was an awesome moment.

      YAY for Ben being a musical soulmate for us both! ^.^

  2. Oh goodness. I love the idea of a musical soulmate, and I definitely feel like I have one. Or a few—Daughter, Paola Bennet, Florence + the Machine, and Hans Zimmer are all valid candidates for me. (Also, I found your blog via Topaz’s blog! Ahh.)

    I’ve only heard two of Ben Howard’s songs, “Promise” and “Esmerelda”. I especially love “Esmerelda”; the lyrics are incredibly evocative and the entire feel of the song is just marvelous. But what you’ve said about his music here is so lovely, and I’m definitely planning on checking more of it out in the future!

    • Chiara says:

      It’s awesome, right? :D Once Topaz said it, I was just YES. ALL THE YES.

      And Florence is amazing, and so it Daughter. I haven’t heard of the other two, so I will definitely have to get on that!

      Esmerelda is one of my all time favourite Ben songs, and I just about fainted when he played it very last at the concert! The Burgh Island EP (which is what Esmerelda is from) is probably my favourite collection of Ben songs. They’ve just got this extra SOMETHING, even more so that his usual stuff. Which is saying a lot.

      YAY! I hope you love it, Christina :D

  3. *sneaks in ridiculously late through the back door*

    SO. You already know who my musical soulmate is (because, um, duh). And honestly, Chiara, everything you’ve said here is so true – I don’t think I could say it better myself. I feel like Ben’s music is the kind of thing that echoes within the crannies of one’s being and fills up all those lonely dark places with wildflowers. What a lovely thing it is to find music that speaks your soul’s language, no?

    • Chiara says:

      *welcomes you happily* :D

      YAY for loving Ben. And I also loved your sentence about the wildflowers because he makes even the saddest thing the most beautiful!

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