After much anticipation and an accidental upload of the song weeks early on his YouTube channel which was hastily deleted, British singer-songwriter Ben Howard has officially released “What A Day” – the lead single from his upcoming album Collections From the Whiteout to be released on March 26.
At the end of his previous album Noonday Dream (the incredible ‘“Murmurations”) Howard, after much emotional anguish, had discovered a place of contentment and peace, and “What A Day” is somewhat a continuation from that lyrically. His use of warm and consistent production of acoustic guitar, strings, piano and muted drums on “What A Day” is a stark contrast between his significantly darker releases of the past. “What a day to go around,” he sings in a gentle tone to an unknown companion who needs “healing” and “mercy.”
Howard hasn’t sacrificed his sense of introspection as he contemplates “where does the time go?” He’s always been adept at using chill sonic settings to existentially ponder and analyze his emotional burdens in often brutally personal ways. However, the mood of this song is uplifting with just a hint of the bittersweet as he details: “Always fearing / Hands clawing / Up against the light it’s nearing.” It seems that such thoughts stem from the inevitability that such days of contentment must reach their end.
As the first release off his new album, it is difficult to predict whether the project will show if Howard has excoriated the demons from himself or whether he’s found a harmonic coexistence. But as his fans know, whatever emotions Howard chooses to explore in his new music is guaranteed to impact the soul.