Top Albums of 2017: Witness

The music supervision team at PlayNetwork saw over 6700+ albums, EPs and compilations added to our extensive music library in 2017. With so much amazing music to pick from, our Music Supervision team finally narrowed down their top 10 albums of the year.

Continuing our theme of top album write ups, we’ve enlisted our Procurement and Label Relations guru, Grady Tyree. Without Grady, the Music Supervision team would be lost-as he is the gatekeeper for all the music that comes through the PlayNetwork doors. Grady writes on why the new Benjamin Booker release WITNESS is one of his favorites of 2017.

Artist: Benjamin Booker


Track: Believe

Twitter: @bennybookmarks

Thousands of songs passed through my ear canals this year, but out of all, one album bore its way into my subconscious and became a worm in my apple… WITNESS by Benjamin Booker, released in May on ATO Records. The sophomore release from the singer/songwriter finds a slow-burn of a record, leaving its mark in your psyche as you let the needle flow from song to song. “Right On You” opens the album with a dusty grunge vibe that bleeds into the more brooding “Motivation” with its background chants that hide in my inner-ear early in the mornings. The title track, “Witness” is a very poignant and impactful song, speaking on racial tensions, racial perspectives, a very beautiful track that hits at the heart of his new album. From here, Benjamin dives into a heavier mainframe with “The Slow Drag Under” a track soaking with sexy blues and wanting vocals. “Truth Is Heavy” rounds out the first side, a smoky trot peppered with pockets of distortion and backing vocals repeating the title.

Flipping to side B, “Believe” immediately lifts your spirits, whether it’s the subject matter or the moving beat, he delivers another amazing track that speaks to needing to believe there are other forces helping us along the way. “Overtime” opens with a sneaky guitar riff that hints at some southwest boogie influence and keeps the toe’s tapping throughout. “Off The Ground” opens with Benjamin and his acoustic that suddenly explode with full electric, pulsating drum beats and frantic vocals pushing the adrenaline, “…hallelujah, we’re off the ground!!” … hallelujah, we’re off the ground!!”… The next track continues a familiar thread on WITNESS, “Carry” features him and a piano pleading for ordinary, asking for order, speaking to the humanity of society. The final cut on the album “All Was Well” completes the circle and closes the album in a similar slow-burning fashion as the album opened.

I was excited about this album when the first single was released, and expectations were exceeded with the full-length. Elements of soul, rhythm n’ blues, grunge and rock intertwine and blend together with Benjamin’s vocals to create a damn good sipping whiskey for the ears, mind and soul. If you haven’t spent time with this album yet, I urge you to do so at your earliest convenience.