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Ben Kweller - Go Fly a Kite (Cover Artwork)

Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller: Go Fly a KiteGo Fly a Kite (2012)
The Noise Company

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's weird to think that Ben Kweller's solo debut full-length, Sha Sha, came out a decade ago. It's even weirder remembering that Sha Sha was actually Kweller's comeback record, after his grunge band Radish fizzled in the '90s. With all this history, though, it is not weird, then, that Kweller's lat.
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It's weird to think that Ben Kweller's solo debut full-length, Sha Sha, came out a decade ago. It's even weirder remembering that Sha Sha was actually Kweller's comeback record, after his grunge band Radish fizzled in the '90s. With all this history, though, it is not weird, then, that Kweller's latest record, Go Fly a Kite, feels like an overview of his discography to date. The singer/songwriter has done a whole lot of living in his career.

Of course, the tracks that will likely make the biggest impact on fans will be the ones that sound like lost Sha Sha cuts, if only because Kweller hasn't written with the Weezer pop rock songbook in a while. "Mean to Me" is a fantastic opening number, from the crashing drums to the grungy guitars to a massively catchy chorus. The hook is so simple ("You don't know what you mean to me"), but Kweller imbues with such pop distinction that, in the moment, it feels like the most important sentiment in the world. Of course, that triumphant horn section helps out as well. Other Sha Sha-ish selections, like the folksy piano piece "Justify Me" and the grungy "Time Will Save the Day," are just as jubilant.

But for all the early aughts nostalgia Kite might invoke, it arguably has more in common with Kweller's last two albums, the piano-laden indie pop Ben Kweller and the country exploration Changing Horses. It's definitely there in the music--it's easy to tell which tracks would fit on which album--but also in the lyrics. Sha Sha and On My Way mean a lot to me, but they have some of Kweller's goofiest, nonsensical lyrics. Chalk it up to youth or weed, but he hasn't written that way in a while, and Kite's words reflect his more mature outlook. Yeah, these are still primarily love songs, but Kweller's songwriting skills have gotten to the point that he can tell an entire story without bringing up non sequiturs like karate or spaghetti.

All of this description is basically a really long preamble for one statement: BK's new record is pretty good. It has some nice indie rock bits and a whole lot of easy going '70s rock moments a la George Harrison. The diorama packaging is a little annoying, but it glows in the dark, so that's cool. The important thing is that, 10 years later, Kweller is still turning out quality tunes. Kite manages to encompass much of what's made his efforts over the years so appealing, and is, in a way, the best introductory BK record for new interested parties.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Dsquared (February 22, 2012)

I wish I we're ben Kweller, he writes such good tunes.

If I we''re ben kweller I know I could win your heart.

r3vengetherapy (February 22, 2012)

I like this record. And I agree with Jelone. Get over the review scores. It's the words that matter, not the number of stars attached.

Jelone (February 21, 2012)

I would love to see your reaction to things that actually matter.

EchosMyron (February 21, 2012)

"Pretty good" does not equal an 8. Every damn thing reviewed this week has received a score of 8 or higher, and the only album probably deserving of such a score is Isolation Drills.

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