I Wish I Was Flawless, I’m Not

For those unfamiliar with the artist known as BANNERS, it is the solo project of the talented, and award-winning singer-songwriter, Michael Nelson. On his latest EP, entitled I Wish I Was Flawless, I’m Not, BANNERS firmly cement their status as a big name to watch in the pop realm. With a platinum single already to his name in “Someone To You,” Nelson’s songs transcend musical boundaries and makes the listener connect with him on a spiritual level. BANNERS would be perfect for fans of The Fray, Coldplay, and Dean Lewis, and this artist has made me a believer in his crisp pop production found on this record.

The EP starts off on vulnerable footing with the heart-wrenching single, “Perfectly Broken,” that is built largely around the piano, and yet allows for Nelson’s voice to lift the audience to new heights. I found the second verse of, “You’ve been in the dark believing your thoughts / When they tell you you’re anything less than you are / But that’s just not true ’cause all of the scars / And the bruises, they’re what make you human / We didn’t need fixing all of this time / ‘Cause all of your edges fit right into mine” to be well-constructed and fits the mood of the music exceptionally well.

The second song, “In Your Universe,” is a gushing ballad about imagining the feeling of spending the rest of your life with your soulmate. Or as Nelson puts it, “I just wanna be somewhere in your universe,” as he sings in falsetto perfectly in pitch. “Keeps Me Going” breaks up the piano-laden tracks with some mandolin-strummed chords that slow-builds to a crowd-pleasing chorus. It’s one of those songs that will immediately leave you in a better mood that you started in.

The back half of the EP kicks off with another piano-based ballad in “Easy,” and BANNERS surely lives up to the track name, since Nelson makes his songwriting look effortless. “Happier” begins with bubbly synths and well-struck piano chords to lead up to a foot-stomping chorus of, “I got this feeling and it won’t go away / Oh it’s so hard to say / Would you be happier, happier? / Have I been living in a lie that you tell / But if you’re true to yourself / Would you be happier with somebody else?” This pondering on behalf of Nelson showcases an artist willing to take calculated risks in both his personal and professional life.

”Miles Away” closes out I Wish I Was Flawless, I’m Not by admitting his headspace within a relationship by singing over some synths, “I was stuck and coming undone, heaven, help me / You’re the only one out there that could pick me / Up you make escape seem easy / You are the only heartbeat that could take me.” The song is ultimately uplifting, and leaves the listener with just the right feeling as they consider their own place in this crazy world. And for now, that’s plenty of great material to think about.