Benjamin James Howard, with a long history in alt-rock, returns to pop-punk roots for the latest single from forthcoming acoustic album!
Much like “Heavy,” Howard’s debut solo single released in 2021, “Ashamed” is an exercise in reconciling with the past, both in practice and concept. The song was written 17 autumns ago during a period of rapid change in his life, following the news that his first band Bottom Line’s major label debut was never going to see the light of day. The group was advised to write yet another album of new material to regain industry confidence and undergo stylistic change. Similar upheaval was being mirrored in his personal life, including a breakup and move back to Ohio from Los Angeles. Before now, “Ashamed” was performed only once during a Hail-Mary-showcase for Columbia Records in early 2007. Howard claims the fact that they passed (reportedly having “just signed Boys Like Girls”), created a stain on the “triumphant” anthem they were going for with this song, and thus it was tabled.
“Ashamed” is about finding peace with who you’ve become and the experiences that led you to the place you’re at now. Therefore, in honoring the spirit of the song, Howard is dusting off the perceived “failure” behind the scenes that this song may have experienced to start. By retaking ownership of it, he hopes the message connects with an audience today, as much as it still does with him. The video companion to the single has a similar raw energy, where the “powers that be” are trying desperately to embarrass the singer, using real artifacts from his life and career.
“Sometimes the past stays in the past, but sometimes it sticks with you, like a badge of honor or as a brick in your foundation. Change is inevitable. The smart ones embrace it. The lucky ones enjoy it.” – Benjamin James Howard