Benjamin James Howard has a long history in alt-rock, and has tried yet another genre on for size: Americana. Howard is a former member of pop-rock group Bottom Line (Maverick/Nice Guy), indie/electro/pop group Pluto Revolts and has released solo material as well!
Much like “Heavy,” Howard’s debut solo single released in 2021, “Locked” is an exercise in reconciling with the past, both in practice and concept. The song was written 15 summers ago but ultimately left unpursued, due to the stark stylistic contrast from the music he was releasing at the time. Howard’s aim with this project is to shed light on these previously-discarded ideas and finally honor the full breadth of his journey in songwriting. Likewise, the song alludes to a past relationship that didn’t work out, and retracing the paths that led to the dead end. "Locked" features background vocals from country/bluegrass artist Maria Carrelli!
“Locked” is ostensibly a break-up song, where the narrator is asking what was being held back, or what unknown factors may have prevented the opportunity for their partner to fully open their heart. However, there's a sense of peace in the message of the song, in that asking the rhetorical question is healthy and necessary in order to reach the conclusion that they'll never find out the answer, perhaps even being better off without it.
“‘Locked’ was born out of a period of summer solitude, when the mourning doves in the trees were the loudest sound in the neighborhood. To many, summer is synonymous with raucous activity, but for me, this song represents embracing moments of seclusion and finding contentment in life's unanswered questions.” – Benjamin James Howard