On March 11, 2022, singer-songwriter Ben Rector released his eighth studio album titled “The Joy of Music.”
When looking at musicians, we may see rich, famous people who sing songs for a living. We may forget what our favorite music artists do is, in fact, hard work. Deadlines for album configurations and lengthy tour dates can be stressful, even for the most polished musicians.
During quarantine, Rector found himself free to create music without these stresses. The music he created during the lockdown makes up his new, 13-track album.
“I was able to dive into my work and love it because there were no deadlines,” Rector said in an interview with Forbes. “No one knew when we would be back. The album was about me rediscovering my love for music because I think anytime something is a job, it can be hard to enjoy it the same way you did when it was a hobby.”
“The Joy of Music” is one of Rector’s most musically diverse records yet. While it consists of similar piano melodies to his previous albums “Brand New” and “Magic,” it also crosses genres and implements new sounds.
The most genre-bending tracks on the album are the first three singles released to promote the record.
“Dream On,” the first single and the album opener, consists of classical inspirations with a Broadway feel as well as simple, yet inspirational, lyrics.
“Supernatural” is another diverse track. This second song takes inspiration from jazz and features saxophonist Dave Koz. Make no mistake, “Supernatural,” while jazz at its base, is a pop track, combining these two genres into something special.
The third single, “Living My Best Life,” opens with a gospel choir proceeding into Rector’s usual pop-piano sound. Lyrically, “Living My Best Life” is one of the more personal songs on the record. Throughout the song’s 3 ½ minute runtime, Rector optimistically reflects on his life in the past and sings with gratitude about the life he lives now with a wife and three children. Songs like “Steady Love” and “Cliches” also reflect the domestic lifestyle Rector has found himself in.
Another highlight is “Sunday,” a song featuring Snoop Dogg. The sixth song on the record features a bouncy, melodic piano riff which leads the track through happy lyrics and references Chick-fil-A being closed on Sunday.
Along with each single released, Rector also released corresponding music videos. Each video features Rector, singing and dancing alongside a giant red Muppet named Joy who is also featured on the album cover.
Overall, “The Joy of Music” is a great album filled with diverse genres and an optimistic attitude. While it does seem a bit slow in some places, the overall record is a fantastic body of work. Out of ten stars, I give the album seven.
Fans can also expect to see Rector and Joy perform on the “Joy of Music Tour” kicking off on May 5, 2022, in Madison, Wisconsin. Rector will also perform at the Oklahoma Zoo Amphitheater in Oklahoma City on June 5.