On his American visa, Benjamin Clementine was described as being an “alien”, an experience that’s informed his latest track. On his two previously-released tracks he’s talked about two differing forms of alienation. With ‘God Save The Jungle’ he centred on the plight of those displaced and living in Calais’ infamous Jungle, while with the ‘Phantom of Aleppoville’ he drew on the writings of child psychologist Donald Winicott to explore the similarities of being displaced by war and the trauma of bullying.
You’d think that being called an “alien” would provoke a similar intensity, but instead his ‘Jupiter’ is, on paper at least, not as haunting as his previous two efforts from new album ‘I Tell A Fly’. Standing at less than three minutes long, it’s a pretty laid-back, more contemplative cut that stands in contrast to their intensity. But the languid nature of the melodies simply intensify Benjamin’s overall message. “‘Jupiter’ for me was like saying ‘Europa’, or ‘England’, or ‘Edmonton’”, Benjamin explains, and so in lines like “back in Jupiter/ Things are getting harder” he speaks to a growing unrest in the world. He even manages to alienate himself from his own track, saying “Ben’s an alien/ Passing by/ Wishing everyone be”, taking the role of those who do the othering.
In its jaunty outlook and lyrics that often bite, ‘Jupiter’ takes a witty and deft side-swipe at those who act as if some people literally come from another planet. At the same time, it continues to show that Benjamin isn’t really an alien; he’s got a very human touch.