Brendan Benson “Dear Life”
It still annoys us that many people will predominantly know Brendan Benson as being in The Raconteurs “with Jack White”. This is ignoring the fact that he is an outstanding artist in his own right and produced some of the best power pop albums over the last 25 years (boy that makes us feel old!).
Ironically, opening track “I Can If You Want Me To” is probably one of the most ‘rocking’ songs he has done. The more aggressive and raucous approach of that track and the appropriately titled “Freak Out” will certainly appeal to fans of The Raconteurs.
However, this album marks a huge leap in the sound of Brendan Benson. He was apparently listening to a lot more hip hop and experimenting with drum machines during the making of this album. Those influences are certainly reflected in songs like “Good To Be Alive” and “Evil Eyes”. The latter song is pop music with a disco/funk coolness. These songs bring a real contemporary feel to the album. They still retain Brendon’s knack for delivering a neat pop tune with catchy melodies, but they make sure this album is very relevant for today.
There’s no need for long term fans of Brendan to panic though. “Half A Boy (Half A Man)” sees those classic Beatles influences coming back into play. Then the middle of the album, with tracks like “Richest Man Alive”, “Dear Life” and “Baby’s Eyes”, is just power pop bliss. Whilst “I Quit” is Brendan at his melodic and catchy best… which is really saying something! You will struggle to find better feel good pop songs all year and these really should be your soundtrack to the summer.
Brendan Benson is just one of those artists who never lets you down. Every release he has made has an air of quality about it. In a world where you would expect there to be little room for power pop, he manages to deliver a release like this which sounds wonderful and totally relevant. In fact, given the crisis going on in the world, there is probably no better time for this joyful release.