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I had been vaguely aware of Passenger for a little while, but had written “them” (as I didn't know it was a solo venture) off as just another one of these tedious Ed Sheeran-like acts who dropped expletives and consonants in equal measure without ever saying anything worth hearing. Apparently there was rather a fuss made of the song “Let Her Go” at the time which seems to have brought Passenger all of the current attention, but all of that passed me by as I very rarely listen to the radio. My very benign opinion of Passenger changed recently when two friends who, as far as I'm concerned, have rather good taste in music, raved about him and piqued my interest enough to look Passenger (a.k.a. Brightonian Michael Rosenberg) up. Despite his ties with the aforementioned Sheeran (someone I really cannot stand, musically), I became intrigued by both his longevity in the music industry and also his busking days, intrigued enough to buy his last couple of albums and, boy, am I glad I did. This guy is a truly gifted songwriter. I admit, I had to get past his voice at the beginning, it sounded very much the kind of “trying hard to be ordinary” vocal delivery I'm not overly keen on, but the character and substance of the material, as well as the personality and sheer talent of Rosenberg won me over very quickly indeed.

As a relatively new fan, I'm able to approach “Whispers” with little to no expectations and very little to compare it with in terms of Passenger's previous albums. The first thing that strikes me is the attention to detail in the beautiful, retro artwork on the CD sleeve and insert (see what you're missing, digital downloaders?), making the whole package look like a book for children. As for the music itself, it's an absolute delight to listen to from beginning to end. The picks on the album are plentiful. “27”, a brilliantly verbose, profane summary of Mike's life so far is inspired, coming across like a cross between Newton Faulkner and David Ford, with a rather lovely violin break in the middle. The tender love song that is “Heart's On Fire” hits the right balance of romanticism and earnestness without a hint of saccharine. “Golden Leaves” has the feel of a classic seventies singer/songwriter composition, so much so that it almost feels as if I have heard it before; regardless, it's undeniably gorgeous and the blend of acoustic guitar and string quartet is the perfect touch. The irrepressible “Thunder” is an upbeat beauty, shimmering, catchy and full of positive imagery juxtaposed with fatalistic self-observations; it's also surely a massive hit in waiting.

I was trying to avoid the comparisons, but on “Start A Fire”, I really can't help it. There are brief moments where you can hear a slight influence, but on this track it is literally impossible to not hear Mumford & Sons, most pointedly in the brass instrumental breaks between the chorus and verse. It's a rather good song, though. The excellent title track, with lyrics that sees Rosenberg vulnerable and unsure of himself, gains momentum throughout and results in an edgy, highly emotional conclusion. The wonderfully expansive folk-leanings of “Riding To New York” is a good example of just why I rate Passenger so highly, namely his ability to convey short stories which engage and intrigue the listener, all embellished with graceful, enticing music. There are, again, echoes of one of my favourite artists, David Ford, on the magnificent “Scare Away The Dark”, a discontented, thoroughly rousing rant about modern life (“We wish we weren't losers and liars and quitters/We want something more not just nasty and bitter/We want something real not just hashtags and Twitter”) and it ends a marvellous, accomplished album on a huge high. Produced by Mike and Chris Vallejo and recorded at Vallejo's Linear Recording Studios in Sydney, Australia, “Whispers” is difficult to fault, both in terms of sound and content. If, like me, you have dismissed Passenger as just another one of those bland singer/songwriter blokes, I would urge you to give both him and this album a chance because I suspect you'll be more than pleasantly surprised if you do.
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on 9 September 2016
Mike Rosenberg (Passenger) is my favourite artist and this album does not disappoint. Most people will know Passenger from his hit 'Let Her Go' and the rest of this album adopts a similar style to this well known tune. Mike has a habit of wearing his heart on his sleeve with his storytelling, enchanting lyrics and folky tunes. If you ever see Passenger live he often provides a back story to his songs. I'd say my favourite 'story' is the tune 'Bullets'.

A real bonus for this particular purchase is the charming style and presentation of the deluxe limited edition case. It features a quaintly illustrated pop up book - this is definitely the sort of CD case you want to put out on display!

Even several years after Mike found fame - he still travels the world and busks.

I'd definitely recommend adding this album to your collection.
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on 13 July 2014
Outstanding. Arrived this morning and I'm now on my fourth listen and it's already my favorite album in the world ever. Beautifully produced, some corking foot tappers and some stunning ballads. 'Riding to new york' and 'golden leaves' are heart wrenching and had me in floods of tears, especially after reading the stories in the little booklet. '27' is fab- his little jab at the music industry but a great track.
The orchestras In the background are ace. Reminds me a lot of Damian Rice.
Please add this to your collection because it is a beautiful piece of work.
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on 1 September 2014
I came across Passenger by chance last year and have become totally hooked having now downloaded pretty much everything that is available. Each song has a story and Mike Rosenberg has a very clever way with words and is probably the most gifted singer songwriter of the modern time.

Having seen a brief interview on BBC Breakfast where he described his meeting with the character who was inspiration for the 'Riding to New York' makes the song all the more relevant.

As an amateur guitarist myself, I also appreciate that many of the songs aren't too complex!
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on 11 November 2014
Wonderful album, full of masterpieces..
Songs like Golden leaves or Riding to New York are heartbreaking masterpieces of elegance, beauty, simplicity and truth..
27 is a song full of energy, reality and frustration that really talks to our hearts..
I truly recommend the deluxe edition because of the stunning acoustic versions that made my heart melt!
A piece of art that every music and singer-songwriter's lover should really have
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on 1 December 2017
Fantastic album well worth the money would recommend this album to anyone but I loved it but music is a personal thing.
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on 16 December 2014
What an album. A fantastic collection of songs that have been on my constant playlist for weeks now. Track after track sticks in the memory, and I could highlight them all, but raising everything above a very high bar are Bullets, Scare Away The Dark, Rolling Stone, Riding To New York and Whispers. An absolute classic.
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on 27 August 2014
As soon as I realised it was a pop up book, I was sold!
I listened to 'Flight of the Crow' and I fell in love with 'All the Little Lights' instantly, and so this was a no brainer.
Not only is the music absolutely beautiful, but the design of this CD was stunning!
Passenger has once again taken my breath away with such amazing songs, if you are already a fan, or are new to his music, do buy this album, you will not regret it, and with the charming book design, you can't go wrong with the money spent on it!
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on 11 November 2014
Beautiful music from passenger as always. My favourite album is still flight of the crow and this record takes a slightly different more positive feel overall. Great watching Passenger go from playing to a handful of people to selling out tours all over
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on 24 September 2014
Fantastic. An amazing album with true and heartfelt lyrics from a truly amazing songwriter. You get such a warmth from the cracking vinyl and it enhances the emotion that you can feel through the songs.
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