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Ben Kweller - On My Way (Cover Artwork)

Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller: On My WayOn My Way (2004)
Sony Music Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 5


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

One of the most surprisingly solid and incredibly enjoyable debuts in recent memory, Ben Kweller's 2002 effort Sha Sha found it's way inside my stereo hundreds of times that year, eventually earning a place in between Thrice and The Promise Ring on my Top 10 of 2002 list [and I wasn't the only one t.
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One of the most surprisingly solid and incredibly enjoyable debuts in recent memory, Ben Kweller's 2002 effort Sha Sha found it's way inside my stereo hundreds of times that year, eventually earning a place in between Thrice and The Promise Ring on my Top 10 of 2002 list [and I wasn't the only one to think the album was that good, either]. So needless to say, there was a little bit of pressure on Mr. Kweller to record a strong follow-up.

Record it he did, and it is here in front of you, going by the name of On My Way. Kweller's sophomore effort, at first listen, almost sounds like a slight regression of some of the majestic pop-rock that graced Sha Sha. The hooks are a little more obvious, the instrumentation a little less adventurous, and the lyrics a little less mysterious than before. But that's what's so wonderful about this album - it lulls you into a total false sense of security. The next thing you know, you've spun it ten times in a row, are singing the songs in the shower, and forcing yourself drudge out your earmuff-sized headphones to actually listen to the album as you walk to class.

Kweller has essentially outgrown his grunge-pop phase, leaving his Weezer influence far behind. More present on the album is a strong songwriting ability evident in piano-driven tracks like "Hospital Bed" and the gorgeous, lush closer "Different But The Same." It's obvious that the time spent with his compatriot Mr. Folds has paid off in spades. The guitar-rock is still in full swing on the album, though, and while it's more basic, it's still so much fun [see "My Apartment" and "The Rule"].

The real album standout is the subdued acoustic melody of "On My Way." This track is to On My Way as what "Lizzy" was to Sha Sha - an introspective look inside Kweller's psyche, leaving no emotional stone unturned. The raw recording of the album really comes into play here, as you can almost imagine the needle go into the red as Kweller howls "Aww mom, I never thought that I could love no one." This sounds like a demo in the best sense - it's unpolished and real.

Ben Kweller has done what so many other singer-songwriters have a hard time doing - not just avoiding a sophomore slump, but improving on what was established beforehand. The album takes a bit longer to really get involved with, but is worth the wait. Completely worthy of the 5-star rating.

Stream 4 songs here

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
At The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandBen Kweller - Sha ShaThe Shins - Chutes Too NarrowDashboard Confessional - The Swiss Army Romance [re-issue]Glassjaw - Worship and TributeCopeland - Beneath Medicine TreeAlkaline Trio - I Lied My Face OffGatsbys American Dream - Gatsbys American DreamArmalite - ArmaliteLatterman - ...We Are Still Alive

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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.
Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

but you see! my name isn't really eddie son!

-Forrest Law

Anonymous (April 12, 2004)

you would say something like that you faggot eddie, this shit sucks.

Eddie (April 11, 2004)

I adore Sha Sha, and I can't wait to pick this one up.

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

where is the modest mouse review?

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

good stuff. I wouldn't say it's a 10, but it's good. The songs on the stream don't do the rest of the album justice.

ps, watch your back

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/k/kweller_ben/on-my -way.shtml

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

what happened when you were 14?

-Forrest Law

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

i haven't seen so much homophobia since i was 14...you guys are fucking lame, find another way to talk shit

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

management: so ben, what theme should we base the album cover on?

ben: hmm, well, since this album is supposed to represent growth, lets go with me chillin with some wolves in a tight shirt with my hair all pimped out.

management: whatever happened to radish?

Anonymous (April 9, 2004)

This score is for this guy's hair and for the sheer fact he thinks the banjo rules

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

I say remove the rating system! People should be able to understand the quality of the album by just reading the review. The only people that it'll bother are those that read the rating first to see if it's good or not, then the review. Ratings are for fast food readers with no patience.

GreenVandal (April 8, 2004)

haha, wait adam gave them a 10 didnt he? guess shameless 10's is everyones fault then.

GreenVandal (April 8, 2004)

Its a dark day for this website when the people who run it start throwing around 10's reasonlessly. I hate this crap, but i can understand others liking it. But a 10 is ludicrous. A 10 for The COnstantines...a much better indie rock band....would be pretty stupid, and they are FAR better then his garbage.

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

i bet scott wants to ride this guy with the wolves incorporated into the sexual fucking.

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

What the fuck is going on with this cover? Am I supposed to be scared of him or some shit? Is he supposed to have so much testosterone that he walks around with wolves?

Score for the album.

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

hi, i'm gay, therefore i like this cd.

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

pure crap

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

this cd sounds a bit like a diamond in the rough. I didn't think much of the first cd the first time i listen to it and now it's one of my favorite cd's. I like the 60's - 70's recording sound. This cd is not about bein clean it's about bein pure

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

i think scott wants to lick this fool's taint all night...he's always defending gays...plus he's in choir... gayyy!

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

shitty music for shitty people

Anonymous (April 8, 2004)

the score is for the "watch your back kweller" comment...

funniest thing i've seen/heard all week

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

the more i think about it, the more confusing this is. this album is being rated the same as weezer's blue album and "the shape of punk to come" by refused. furthermore it is rated higher than Cursive's "Burst and Bloom" and "Ugly Organ" AND Diffuser's
"Injury Loves Melody". i know everyone is entitled to their opinions...but come on now!

-benz

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

That is one ugly cover.

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

scott likes him. therefore it sux.

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

Whats with all the hating on B.K.?

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

those wolves look terrified

poopypants (April 7, 2004)

ahahha, priceless

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

|ŻŻŻŻŻ|Ĥ|ŻŻŻŻ·ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ|_
|_ İ__|Ĥ|___________ _._______|_|
` · .'' == ''_____||________|
. . . . |Ż(ŻŻŻ| |
/ · `¸ .`·--- · ' ,
/ · · / ŻŻŻŻŻŻ
· · · /
| · · ·
¸___|

watch your back, kweller.

some1 (April 7, 2004)

moppet?

nigel thornberry? is that you?

poopypants (April 7, 2004)

hey ben, you're on your way to the used cd store!

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

I'm sorry, did you just say "Promise Ring" and "Top 10 of 2002" in the same sentence?

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

i sure have no idea why everyone is wetting themselves over this moppet...

poopypants (April 7, 2004)

ehh, i picked this up for 8 bux at best buy...shoulda kept my money. based on the frist listen it just sounds like some garage rock indy emo fag doin his best conor oberst (which is of course, being a pretentious indy emo fag w/ tight pants and the emo haircut). the opening track was pretty cool, but i dont' know, this just doesnt sit right with me. its just not rocking.

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

about the cover: it sure does make him look taller than he really is. i mean ben kweller is a short man.
also, i remember there was a contest way back when where this website gave away a toothbrush. i hope they keep with the theme and give away a wolf for this album.
oh, and this album is good. i don't think i'll ever like it as much as Sha Sha, but I said the same thing about RXB's resignation relative to progress, and that was wrong. but sha sha was a way above average album with at least 5 songs that are amazing. nothing on this one stuck out much other than the title track. of course i'll give it more chances.

Oh, and give us a modest mouse review. i need someone to tell me what i should think of it so i can either agree with them or disagree. i still can't believe they are getting mainstream exposure. too weird.

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

This is weird...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4669114/

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

yes, and then shoot yourself... everytime i die sucks as does ben kweller.. eh faggots.

Ryan Rockwell

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

go listen to every time i die

Anonymous (April 7, 2004)

is radish's "little pink stars" not one of the funnest songs of the past 10 years? I don't think so.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

I'm sure someone submitted a Modest Mouse review...hopefully not Scott.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

The wolves are cooler than the toothbrush.

-sickboi

littleblackridinghood (April 6, 2004)

raise your hand if the song title 'different but the same' reminded you of the raised fist song with the same title. hehe

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

"I am embarrassed for both of us Scott."

... shutup douche

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

This is a very average album with some above average songs. It's too easy to give an album a ten. Try being a little more critical.

greg6711 (April 6, 2004)

I forgot, my rating.

greg6711 (April 6, 2004)

This is what passes as a good singer-songwriter?

"The hooks are a little more obvious, the instrumentation a little less adventurous, and the lyrics a little less mysterious than before. But that's what's so wonderful about this album"

even if your assertion is right, how is this cd worthy of a ten.

You want another great Samson or Gibbard record, so you praise this cd.
Look, I am just as dissapointed by the poor showing of 2004 thus far, but hang on people.

even if you like his last cd, I don't think that has any merit on this cd.

maybe i'll stream the songs, but as of right now, I am embarrassed to see this cd here. It represents the shame of indie rock, much like the bands simple plan and good charlotte shame your punk scene.

I am embarrassed for both of us Scott.

And the question that still needs anwsering...why no Modest Mouse review?

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

* i meant five star. the whole rating thing got all mixed up. you know how it is

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

This rating is for the demos I heard only. I really like Sha Sha, it still gets plays in my cd player. "I Need You Back" almost comes close to the fun of his first album, but the songs here are pretty basic in comparison. Guy's got talent, but I'm bored by these songs. If this is a ten star album that matches the smartness of the last one, well the other songs not on the ecard must be amazing.

-benz

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

Its good... not perfect. Wouldn't give it a 5, but I'd say it's overall a solid follow up to Sha Sha. As of right now, I still like Sha Sha more.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

Leave it to Scott to give the worst records of the year perfect scores. 100% biased.

I think I'm going to write a review on the new Bad Religion and give it a 2. Fucking sellouts.

lieutenant (April 6, 2004)

Too bad he looks like a wad and put himself on the cover.

I say this lightly people, relax.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

scott... a 5? the lyrics on most of the songs are pretty laughable.

-travis

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

Wouldn't it be cool if Ben K, Dashboard, and Onelinedrawing merged to form a super-dooper introspective mega band? And then went on tour with Dropkick?

aubin (April 6, 2004)

The only thing I liked about Sha Sha was the "grunge-pop phase. "

greg0rb (April 6, 2004)

this guy is very good.
-Greg

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

This guy isn't very good.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

strong review. ill see whats up.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

lame shit

kirbypuckett (April 6, 2004)

It's taken my quite sometime, but I really enjoy this record.

I also am a little upset I missed his latest stop in Pittsburgh.

- Kirby

Jesse (April 6, 2004)

I'm going to stick with this: overrated.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

this is good, i wouldnt say perfect, but none the less its very good. im see him and death cab tomarrow night, cant wait.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

that 'wasted and ready' song has to be one of the most irritating singles in the past few years. this guy is terrible.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

i'm going to buy this sha sha is still in my cd player

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

man asshole, what a fucking cop out to give this album a perfect 10. i seriously doubt this is JUST as good as the first, yet you have to give it a 10 because it supports your past effort to plug kweller. you do it all the time cause you're too proud to admit a band you like sucks. next spitalfield album is a guaranteed 10, just wait everyone.

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

Ben Kweller is the shit.

Know it.

-Oso

esper (April 6, 2004)

boooooooooooooo

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