Benjamin Clementine 'At Least For Now Album' Watch Below..

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The emotional power in Benjamin Clementine’s debut album, “At Least for Now” (Capitol), lies in the singer-composer’s ability to communicate his profound sense of alienation. He does so with intense, often beautiful music that is a mélange of styles from no particular genre or single national origin and is delivered by a voice that can be defiant or fraught with trepidation. “I am lonely / Alone in a box of stone / They claimed to love me, but they’re all wrong,” he sings in “Cornerstone,” adding: “This is the place I now belong.”

On “At Least for Now,” which has been available in Europe since January and was released here last week, the Paris-based 26-year-old Mr. Clementine emerges as a distinctive talent, even if his influences, such as Nina Simone and the French melodramatic song form nouvelle chanson, are apparent. On occasion, he augments or departs from traditional lyrical form to heighten tension, much as would singers he admires like Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. “Excuse me, I’m in the middle of a song,” he sings in “The People and I.” In “Condolence,” he states: “Out of absolutely nothing, I, Benjamin, I was born / So that when I become someone one day / I will always remember that I came from nothing.”

During a phone call from Paris last week, Mr. Clementine said he was self-taught, starting piano at age 11 only to give it up a few years later. When his parents divorced, he quit school and moved out: “I felt there was no difference if I left or not,” he said. Basic survival was the objective, he added, but a yearning to play music returned. Having migrated to Paris, where he busked for coins, he came to realize he preferred singing his own compositions. For the first time, he began to feel confident in his talent. “I began to breathe music,” he said. In his Simone-like “Adios,” he offers a glimpse of how he moved toward maturity: “Adios to the little child in me / Who kept on blaming everyone else / Instead of facing his own defeat.”

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