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Is It? It is. Get to know Ben Howard with these 5 tracks

It’s that wonderful time of year again.


The days are getting longer, people are smiling again. Flowers are in bloom and everywhere, the sound of plans being made is noticeably audible.

That is to say that, summer is here. 

And today we’re talking about an artist that could well soundtrack your summer.  It is, of course, British musician Ben Howard. 

Howard is known for his heartfelt folk and indie rock sound, the perfect company for a sunny afternoon. His fifth studio album Is It? Is set for release on June 16th, and given that the material he’s already previewed from it is among his very best – we wanted to take a look into his discography. 

So, without further ado, let’s get to know Ben Howard through 5 of his very best songs. 


1. ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’.

There’s no finer place to begin to get acquainted with Howard’s discography than with his most recent single ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’. An utterly infectious, deep-lying groove-filled tune. All re-pitched guitars and lush synth basses, it has all the hallmarks of an artist at the peak of their powers. 

The track, and the album it heralds, was written in France over a 10-day period and detail the songwriter’s experience of having two mini-strokes (TIAs). Howard is quoted in NME as saying “I found it impossible not to dwell on the absurdity of it, that with one tiny clot, one can lose all faculties. It really ate into the writing of the record”.

2. ‘Only Love’

Even those totally unfamiliar with Howard’s oeuvre will recognize ‘Only Love’ by broad strokes. Released a shocking 11 years ago, talk about feeling old, as part of his massively breakthrough first album Every Kingdom,  the track is one of the most beloved indie-folk tunes of the decade past.

‘Only Love’ spent a total of 37 weeks on the UK singles chart and helped earn the musician a diehard fanbase. 

3. ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ 

Never short in terms of depth of artistic expression, ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ is the opening track from Howard’s third LP Noonday Dream. The track offers something totally different sonically, a more somber, introspective feeling piece than the previous two entries on our list.

The track was a critical smash, so much so that it won the British artist a prestigious Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically back in 2019

4. ‘I Forgot Where We Were’

Following up a commercial smash like Every Kingdom is no small task. Yet, in 2014 Howard set out to do just that with ‘I Forgot Where We Were’, the title track from his second full-length album.

Indeed, these worries wore heavy on Howard’s mind during the recording of his second album. Speaking to Hunger Magazine in 2014 he said “So there’s that whole weight that goes on to making a second record and it took a bit of time out to get rid of that, to get rid of those feelings that I owed anyone anything or that I had to please a certain demographic of people that would have liked the old record but perhaps might not like the new one. “

And while the single did not reach the auspicious heights of commercial acclaim ‘Only Love’ did, I Forgot Where We Were debuted at number 1 on the UK album charts.

5. ‘What A Day’

‘What A Day’ is the lead single from Howard’s fourth, and most recent, album Collections From The Whiteout.


Released during the throws of the pandemic in 2021, the album rings in a marked sonic shift from Howard. Gone are the larger-than-life indie folk swells of yesteryear. Streamlined, purposeful arrangements are very much the order of the day here.

The album is perhaps Howards’ best (with all eyes excitedly fixed on this coming June), and was co-produced by The National’s Aaron Dressner

It Is? is out on June 16th. 


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