Ben Burnley Prefers Not Saying What Breaking Benjamin's Songs Are About

September 26, 2019

Breaking Benjamin have been riding high since 2004 as one of the growing giants of modern rock. Their latest album Ember was released back in April 2018 and fans continue to fill arenas and stadiums in their headlining North American tour.

In a recent interview with Artist Waves, frontman Ben Burnley spoke a bit about his writing process and why he thinks it's more important for fans to discover a meaning behind a song for themselves, rather than just having the artist give it away.

"I like to tell stories in a way that is vague so that everyone can attach their own meanings to it," says Burnley. "I got that from Nirvana, too. Kurt Cobain would never want to say what a song is about. I stopped doing that as well. I once had a fan ask me about the song 'Ashes of Eden' off our record Dark Before Dawn, I said to them that I really preferred you pull your own interpretation because if I tell you, it could ruin it for you. This particular fan insisted it would not, so I said what it was about and guess what? It did ruin it."

"So, I would much rather leave people with what they think it’s about rather than me telling you what I wrote about. I don’t want to change someone’s perception, I don’t think that’s what music is about. It should be whatever you take it to be. I don’t want that for myself. I don’t want to ask an artist what I song I love is about. If it means something specific to me, that’s how I want it to remain forever."

Burnley also spoke about being inspired by the lyrical stylings of Nirvana, Korn, and Cold, who believes that the delivery is just as important as the lyrics themselves. "Some artists can just say one and word it can move you just by how they sang it. Kurt Cobain was the best at that. It’s fascinating to recognize how real that is. That’s all you can do as an artist, just try to be real."

Ember holds a special place in Burnley because it is the first album in which all members of Breaking Benjamin were involved in the songwriting process since the beginning. "The band was all with me on Dark Before Dawn, but I had the writing already done. There were a few things the band helped with, but on Ember, they were there since day one and they wrote a lot. It was awesome for me. Like on the song 'Tourniquet', Keith wrote all of that. I don’t even know how to play it. That’s the first time that’s ever happened for me and I love it."