Last year, after a decade in the game, gentle U.K. folk-pop depressive Mike Rosenberg (a.k.a. Passenger) had a global smash with his feather-soft breakup tune "Let Her Go." Perhaps unsurprisingly, his first album since finding success is somewhat more upbeat. With a gravelly but delicate voice and melodies that can evoke Ed Sheeran, who's a friend, or Cat Stevens, he takes on his indecisive twenties on "Rolling Stone" and "27," attempts a road epic on "Riding to New York," and, on "Scare Away the Dark," implores, "We want something real/Not just hashtags and Twitter." Impressively, he sings it like he thought of that cliché himself.
From The Archives Issue 1211: June 19, 2014