Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
When Ben Taylor and band recorded the song, "You're Not Alone," for us two years ago, it hit hard. It immediately sounded like the best song he'd ever written. He explains the song as his way of reconciling an inability to stay in touch with all of the people that he loves, always, even in this world of constant connectivity. It's almost as if he's trying to overcome that hyper-connectivity, as it can almost be seen as a detriment to REAL connectivity, as we're doing away with real personal and meaningful sentiments for those that are nothing much more than tossed-off blips and garbage words, texts and retweets. We aren't arms and lips, just thumbs and screens that light up with notes and what has to pass for love-like.
The song is Taylor speaking to his family and friends, offering them the kind of reassurance that he will always be there for them, that most people will never offer. It sounds resolute and permanent. The words - so easy - penetrate. He sings, "You may be a lot of things, but you're not alone/You're not alone." There's nothing to it and yet, if any of the people that Taylor needs to have appreciate and hold this song close to them actually do, there's no way that they could hear it only as a song. It's a song that puts him in the room with them, in that dark place or that bed with them and he's giving them exactly what they need right at that very moment.
It's as powerful of a song as the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon has ever written, though his thoughts have always been on words and music that are going to leave him with the people he cares about the most. The new single from his forthcoming album, "Listening," features the line, "Worlds are made of paper and time is only time," and it's almost as if he wants to remind us that people are only people. We need to be cool with the thought that we're just as temporary and flammable as paper and as nothing as time, as well. We must somehow find the benefits in that, rather than the downfalls. We must somehow find a way to make that feel like we'll still never be alone. Sometimes it works out that we do and other times, we need Taylor to sing us this song.