#Benji by #SunKilMoon is about death. I think I ripped Pitchfork off with that sentence but there's no other way to start talking about this album. Cousins, uncles, grandparents die sudden and harrowing deaths; family members are mourned before they've even passed just because of the passage of time; children die and are forgotten about, or else they're slaughtered in mass shootings while the world cries out in anguish; serial killers die as we reflect on the darkest recesses of the human condition. Benji is a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking experience upon first listen; that's largely due to Mark Kozelek's songwriting style. Kozelek hardly ever subjects us to metaphor here. When he wants to describe his emotions when his grandmother died, he lays it out bare for you: his anxiety over her death broke, and he fucking laughed. When his second cousin ("Carissa") died from an exploded aerosol can (exactly the same way his uncle died, "Truck Driver") he traveled across the country for her funeral even though he hardly knew her while she was alive; family does that to you. Everything on this album hits so hard because of how hard it all hit Mark. Even when the album wraps up with "Ben's My Friend" and all Kozelek sings about is feeling old at a Postal Service concert and eating crab cakes, no detail seems too small or insignificant because he's already delivered his message. This is life. Live it while you can.