In Review: Alt-Pop Songwriter BLESS Releases Versatile New Album ‘Forever, Always’

Modern alternative scenes are putting out some of the most exciting music right now.

Whether that be the caffeinated distorted sounds of hyperpop, or the chill 80s throwback of modern synthwave, alternative music in its many forms will always resonate. One fresh artist to offer his own unique blend of sounds is up and comer, BLESS

Hailing from Murfreesboro Tennessee, Brandon Lester aka BLESS, doesn’t seem to be bothered by catering to specific audiences. Dabbling in elements of pop, hip hop, and even folk, his main goal was to put out music unique to himself. Lester has been writing lyrics and melodies since he was a child, and this continuously evolved throughout his lifetime as he came of age.

In 2018, Lester released his first single under the moniker BLESS. The song, “d.e.a.d,” displayed his love of acoustic guitars matched with the spacious modern hip hop/indie pop production of artists like Oliver Tree or even Tame Impala. Lester would release three more singles before his debut album, Forever, Always, officially dropped. The album was released on August 6th, 2021, and it features a diverse culmination of his musical experience to this point.

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The album starts with the bright track, “Sad Boi.” The driving lo-fi beat combined with the sparkling keys gives the album an upbeat start. The song plays on internet culture and the idea of young confused “Sad Boys,” with Lester singing, “I don’t know who I am anymore / Because now I’m a Sad Boi.” The title track has a really beautiful semi-psych pop feel, reminiscent of someone like Mac Demarco. BLESS’s half-rapping and half-singing really gives the song a constant forward motion and passionate energy.

The song “GHOST!” dives into darker pop sounds, offering wavy synths that fill up the mix, engulfing you into this more noir tone of his. The theme of not wanting to be a “ghost” in a relationship seems to be a notable theme across the entire record.

The closing song, “Finally,” ends the album on a slow, dreamy note. The lyrics of the chorus, “Wish you could see all the love that’s underneath/ Dig deeper I swear it’s there,” gives the entire project a bittersweet tone. BLESS sings in a lower, deeper tone along with droning synths and shimmering guitars, leaving the listener at ease as things come to a close.

This is a strong first project from BLESS, and the dreamy, dark sound he’s captured on this album is a great launching point for him. The future looks bright for this emerging alt-pop artist.

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