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  • Alice Smith

5 Songs I Love w/ Douglas A. Benson

Following the release of his debut single 'On The Run' Flex caught up with emerging artist Douglas A. Benson to find out more about what influences his eclectic sound. If you enjoy Douglas's picks be sure to check out 'On The Run' at the end of the article.

1. People Whither - Feng Suave

I love this song because it is about transitionality. It talks about and makes you believe that accepting the changing nature of life is something we all have to accept. The song feels like it not only accepts the changes life brings but celebrates them. The lyricism of the song is what stands out to me the most. “Come, get up, they say it’s morning. And if you’re not the one it’s dawning for…There hasn’t ever been a day more opportune to sit out than this one.” It's a beautiful acceptance of the fact that not every day is the perfect day. But it is there to be whatever you make of it. I start to see life through this lens, I feel a sense of empowerment and appreciation for each day. The singer, Daniel, has the most gorgeous voice in modern times and the arrangement is fantastic. They have a mastery of dynamic control in their songs that is hard to find in modern music. From completely bare vocals with nothing but a soft guitar accompanying, to making you feel like the world is swaying with you in the chorus. I find them truly inspiring songwriters. 

2. Reflexopolis - Cosmic Crooner

This song always takes me back to a particular memory. After discovering the song in 2022, I fell in love with its dreamy psychedelic vibes. I flew to Amsterdam in the hopes of seeing them play it live. I never made it. Being Amsterdam, and the music being so beautifully psychedelic, I thought it would be rude not to get stoned before the show. Sadly, I was too stoned to notice that whilst I had made it to the right venue…I was at the wrong stage. I waited through the strangest support act of my life, in anticipation of what would be a fantastic evening. But by the time the main act came on, I realised I was in fact in the wrong place…It was too late. I missed it. I saw the band afterwards signing records and posters so I decided to tell them what had happened. They decided (I think out of pity) to invite me to a bar with them to celebrate the release of their new record. There we talked about the album and I brought up my love for this song, hoping to get some insight into how it was written. The singer just looked at me, smiled and said “So, you like George Harrison too huh?”

3. You Send me/Bring it on home to me (Live) - Sam Cooke

I will never forget the first time I heard this song. It completely changed the way I saw Sam Cooke. Sam had always been a huge inspiration of mine growing up. My mum always used to play him to me. But I had always seen him as a soft and smooth vocalist in comparison to my other soul favourites, such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett or Arthur Conley. This album shows a completely different side to Sam, but this song for me is his finest moment. I have never heard a man sing with so much passion and fire. It is masterfully suspenseful before launching into the most powerful rendition of ‘You Send Me’ I have ever heard. His voice blows me away every time. It fills me with this hope and desire that one day I can carry that same passion, energy and soul, and share that feeling with an audience. 

4. One Point Perspective - Arctic Monkeys

This song perfectly encapsulates why the bass is my favourite instrument. The song starts off feeling almost unnerving and it is so hard to know where it's going to go. All of a sudden the bass comes in along with a subtle guitar part, and the whole song comes to life as this groovy contemplative vibe of someone, happy to sit in their own world and buy into their own fantasy. There is something quite isolating, yet beautiful about how the song portrays this feeling. The arrangement sells it perfectly. The bass and guitar come in to put you at ease, right as the vocals say “I fantasize, I call it quits”, It makes me feel like I am not the only one who, sometimes, just wants to quit trying to understand the world, and instead retreat into my imagination. 

5. Curtains (Live) - Elton John

This song was a huge inspiration for my upcoming EP ‘Joys of Growth’. In particular, my song ‘A Kiss That Lasts’ pays homage to this song in many ways. A lesser-known Elton song, it is a beautiful ending to a beautiful album. An ode to the beginning of his career with Bernie Taupin, the lyrics are soft and sentimental. “And just like us, you must have had a once upon a time” resonates with me deeply. The idea that everyone has their stories and that life really is like a fairytale sometimes. I have always been a fan of Elton John, but I always felt his records pale in comparison to his live performances. This live performance is the best example of that. Elton’s piano, the guitar solos, the harmonies, what an incredible thing to see live. 

Listen to Douglas A. Benson 'On The Run'


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