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Is that all I have to say?
Vulnerability lies on the lips of Ben Hobbs’ new song “Take The Blame.” With dark, ominous clouds hanging low in the air, the South London singer/songwriter sees the oncoming storm, an inevitable turmoil in the distance. Sometimes, the bad times have to pass in order for good times to return. We know what’s coming our way, and though we may not always be able to prevent it, we still fight, keeping our heads high. Majestic as it balances the cusp of darkness and light, “Take The Blame” highlights the best in Ben Hobbs.
Thank you for nothing
Do you worry, that I can’t take it – I can’t take the blame?
Take your best shot
Or you should give in – I should bring you down
I can’t beg you now
But I can take it – I can take the blame
It’s the same again
Listen: “Take The Blame” – Ben Hobbs
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Take The Blame,” the latest single release from the UK’s Ben Hobbs. A prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Hobbs has proven himself adept at grasping the beauty in both the lows and highs – of life and of sound. His debut single “Sweet Enough” just celebrated its first anniversary after introducing him to the world last October, and the subsequent Sweet Enough EP that debuted in May 2016 received coverage and acclaim for its blend of electronic and human elements, as well as Hobbs’ expert manipulation of his voice.
Hobbs’ newer material reveals a darker side as heavy, pounding drums and pulsing bass ascend to the forefront of his music. This inclination is mirrored in equally heartfelt lyrics expressing hurt and individual insecurities. “I’m saving it for the lust, I’m waiting for you to trust me, I’m hoping you’ll want me for something more,” sings Hobbs on his recent September single “Animals,” which has racked up over 400,000 Spotify streams in its first month.
“Take The Blame” is just as raw as “Animals,” but it comes from a different space:
At first it wounded
But then it bruised, I know
It all comes back around
I hold this feeling
It keeps deceiving though
Distraction feeds me now
Is that all I have to say?
Is that all I have?
Hobbs’ willingness to share his inner demons is one of his greatest assets. “The whole idea was about trying to escape a kind of impending negativity that really wasn’t welcome, and turning it into a pop song,” he says of “Take The Blame.” His words show the depth of the connection between his head and his heart: A deep, internal understanding of feelings and emotion, and how they reflect internal and external circumstances.
“Take The Blame” does not sink to the surface level. Hobbs maintains his intellectual integrity in a song that allows itself to build, making the audience think (and also patiently wait) in order to comprehend its layers. In that sense, this song is a win for smart pop. Real, intensely personal emotions are hinted at by lyrics that suggest far more than meets the eye while heavy synth and percussion action embody those same emotions through haunting sonic imagery.
I fear the warning, while weakness fills me, oh
Attraction paves the way
This is fixed in, no revelation though
It all consumes me now
Ben Hobb’s connection to the music is equally vivid: “This was the first song that was entirely written away from home, in Berlin to be exact,” he recalls. “It felt different to me from the very beginning, in terms of what my ‘go to’ writing choices would be and that was a really exciting way to be working on a track.” Here, he has expanded his musical and lyrical scope, simultaneously going on the offensive and the defensive. The world is never black and white, as we well know, though sometimes music may paint a picture that way.
For Hobbs, existence lies in the gray area – the in-between. You do not get the good without the bad, the light without the darkness – and equally so, the darkness without the light. While escapism and a desire to avoid the oncoming storm litter the verses, Hobbs expresses confidence at overcoming whatever darkness may befall him in the chorus: “Thank you for nothing. Do you worry, that I can’t take it – I can’t take the blame?… I can take it – I can take the blame,” he sings forcefully. His words become an anthem of overcoming grief and hardship, heartbreak and the like. He can push past it. He will surge forward, stronger and secure. The uncertainty of the verses will always accompany the certainty of the chorus, but that’s true to life as well: As sure as we are of ourselves, doubt is hard, if not impossible to escape.
Dark, catchy and authentically haunting, “Take The Blame” is a spine-tingling display of musical and emotional awareness that is easy to connect to and begs for repeated listens. Don’t miss Ben Hobbs’ haunting new single, and keep an eye on this Artist to Watch as he continues to release new music this year. He may sing about an oncoming storm, but the future is bright for Ben Hobbs.
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cover photo: Ben Hobbs © Caitlin Mogridge