Ben Seretan by Ben Seretan (New York, New York)
Rock is not dead. About two weeks ago I received, in the good old fashion physical mail, a beautiful copy of a beautiful record by a beautiful man. If you’ve lost all appreciation for the craft of song-writing, then you can stop reading right here. If you’ve lost all patience for anything that doesn’t “drop”, you can stop reading right here. If you’ve come to expect your favorite tracks to be 3 minutes and thirty seconds flat, you can stop right here. Here we unpack the self-titled debut from Ben Seretan:
The record is 54 minutes long. It’s 8 tracks long. If you can’t quickly grasp why that’s significant, than explaining why it is wont be worth the effort anyway.
Before I talk about the music itself, let me make mention of the records packaging. Delivering a physical product is something widely overlooked in the age of Soundcloud and Bandcamp. I’m not knocking the digital release, that’s what we specialize in here at Dingus, but when something comes along so beautifully tied together as Ben Seretan’s debut, it makes the eyes perk up as much as it does the ears. It makes you want to give it a chance because right off the cuff, the album has made a serious impression that lasts longer than the click of a mouse.
There’s a reason why ‘Light Leaks’ is the only track that you can stream for free. It’s not because Seretan knows that his music is worth your money (it is). It’s not a pr stunt. It’s because if you’ve heard nothing else off this record, this singular track is enough to drum up tears and demonstrate the type of rollercoaster ride you’re in for. That is, if you have the patience to wait out the payoff.
Personally, I live in a word of death. As a recovering heroin addict, many of my friends are recovering heroin addicts. And as someone plugged into social media, it’s hard to avoid the pictures of them overdosing and (if they’re lucky) ending up back in the hospital. Worse yet, is when they die. Right now I have a great aunt who’s dying at the age of 80. I’m often asked if this makes me sad and the answer is no. She’s lived an amazing life and she’s ready to go. What makes me sad is when 20 year olds get high for their last time and wind up in the ground leaving their parents wondering why.
“You will be stronger tomorrow / You will be wiser tonight / You will find new love without warning / You will find new joy with every breath”
But this is all for nothing if you can’t get back up and dust yourself off. And that’s the truly amazing thing about Seretan’s debut. Just as you’ve been brought down to re-live your lows, you’re picked right back up through ‘Medowlark’. And this is the constant back and forth throughout the album. Like life, it’s up, it’s down, it’s lost and it’s found. At times, it feels like it doesn’t know itself and at other times it feels so confident in it’s own existence that you’d almost call it arrogant. Without it’s own insecurities to balance out the bravado, Ben Seretan is just another rocker. Through humanity, he might just be the rocker we’ve been waiting for.
‘Medowlark’ by Ben Seretan
This is the story of music. Or the story of music as it was and should have stayed. Because three minutes and thirty seconds of visceral fist pumping is great when you need to get up for work at 5:30am but music should have a place in our lives that rarely inhabits today. That in which a record can consume you fully, leaving room for no other activity. A proper record is like reading a book. So go read Ben Seretan. @Dingusonmusic