Brendan Benson's 'You Were Right' proves he's 'getting better all the time' December 04 2013, 0 Comments
Some of you may remember how heartily I expounded on Brendan Benson’s last album release for ‘What Kind of World’. (For those that don’t, my review can be found here) It debuted on April 23, 2012, the same day as Jack White’s ‘Blunderbuss’. What a face off! Who would win? Well, obviously Jack did. In album sales, at least. A long-time Raconteurs FAN-atic, I’ll admit I was a bit late getting on the Brendan boat. But since finding him and discovering his treasure trove of tunes, I have to say, I’ve been continually amazed at the ways in which Mr. White’s fellow Raconteur is so constantly overlooked as a musician and song-writer. With the release of ‘You Were Right’, perhaps some of that tide is starting to turn.
Already garnering critical acclaim, I was super-excited to pick up my own copy on Black Friday RSD 2013- a full two weeks ahead of the official cd and digital release date of December 10th. Produced by his own Readymade label and distributed by Thirty Tigers, the LP is a 180-gram standard black vinyl gatefold. It includes an 8-page insert with photos and a sentence or two from Brendan about the inspiration behind each song. The Black Friday RSD version also includes a limited poster.
Instantly a favorite here in my house, this LP is a bit less ‘Power Pop’ than his previous works. A few tracks from his previous solo release 'My Old Familiar Friend' have made reappearances on this album but overall I would say 'You Were Right' illustrates a perhaps more somber Benson. I’ve tried to capture my initial thoughts for some of you that may be ‘On the Fence’ about purchasing it...
It’s Your Choice- a powerful, almost Irish-sounding intro (which I later learned via the book included with the LP may have been inspired by the countryside he was traveling through at the time of writing it) traditional Brendan style- catchy melody, smart lyrics- a well-rounded choice for opening out the album
Rejuvenate Me- uptempo guitar intro- lyrical assistance from fellow Readymade artist, Young Hines. Super catchy, Raconteurs fans will appreciate this one for sure
As of Tonight- love the bass-y intro. classic Benson production and styling. A true choral earworm, you will find yourself with this refraining in your head
Diamond- the second single from this album, which was actually released in April for RSD 2013, a unique way of promoting an album prior to its release which has since been replicated by the Dead Weather for their upcoming album expected in 2105. LOVE the guitar intro on this. Super catchy. and do I detect a hint of 'screwdriver' action?
Long Term Goal- at first listen seems to be written to a young artist trying to make it in the music industry. Via the LP booklet, apparently it’s a song Brendan wrote about himself in his own early days in the business. A heartfelt tune to be sure
I Don’t Want to See You Anymore- LOVE LOVE LOVE this song, all the way around. Hammond organ! A welcome Greenhornes-y intro, total r&b feel, soulful lyrics Brendan totally belts out- co-written with the lovely Ashley Monroe- absolutely my favorite on this LP
I'll Never Tell- some of that ‘Pretty Babies’ feel followed by Jamaican flavor. Why does Cory Chisel come to mind? But then it totally breaks into a riff-filled rockin’ tune… and then back to the islands… holy moly this song is awesome! That must be the amazing Brad Pemberton on drums… Such a twisted love song- nice work
Swallow You Whole- wow. So many thoughts on this particular song. So Beatles. Written after a long Raconteurs session. In Jack White’s house. I’ll leave it at that
She’s Trying to Poison Me- Brendan tends to have one or two songs per album relating a dysfunctional woman story, this that song
Purely Automatic- so Beatles! If you enjoyed the first dysfunctional woman song on the album, here’s the other twisted tune
New World of Wisdom- yes! More Hammond! Sooooooo beautifully written, it was interesting to learn the manner in which it came about (for that story, you’ll have to buy your own copy of the album and read the literature provided). Classic Benson lyrical stylings, a relatable accounting of how friendships can fall apart. I love the circus-y organ vibe, right up my alley
Oh My Love- a somewhat minstrel feel, so McCartney- if you don’t love this song something is wrong with you
Three bonus tracks come with the full Digital Download, also included with the vinyl purchase. On The Fritz, Swimming (the first single of the album released in January 2013 but doesn’t actually appear on the vinyl edition) and Red White & Blues (a single that debuted for the 4th of July).