Brendan Benson - The Alternative to Love (Cover Artwork)

Brendan Benson

Brendan Benson: The Alternative to LoveThe Alternative to Love (2005)

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: BJREx-Spectator
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When I read the first sentence of the review of The Alternative to Love on PitchforkMedia, I knew that this CD was totally worth the walk in the summer heat to my local independent record store and the 13 bucks I shelled out for it: "Brendan Benson smokes a lot of cigarettes. He's also had a lot of .
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When I read the first sentence of the review of The Alternative to Love on PitchforkMedia, I knew that this CD was totally worth the walk in the summer heat to my local independent record store and the 13 bucks I shelled out for it: "Brendan Benson smokes a lot of cigarettes. He's also had a lot of girlfriends, most of whom have left him. This combination is the nuclear fission of pop songwriting, and the afflicted can (and do) write inexhaustibly about the topics. Benson has been at it for almost a decade, and until now he's shown no sign of shaking his nicotine grievances."

Brendan Benson has been in the indie music spotlight ever since his Lapalco and One Mississippi albums were released on Startime Records. Since then, he has moved to V2 Records, home of groups such as the White Stripes, Bloc Party, the Blood Brothers, Gang of Four, and up-and-comers the Greenhornes, whom Benson is involved with along with Jack White from the White Stripes in the Raconteurs. But when one thinks of power-pop, his name doesn't come to mind, while bands like Weezer, Matthew Sweet, and the New Pornographers do. Benson, who hails from Detroit, Michigan, draws on garage rock guitars, synthesizers, acoustic guitars, and his singing and lyricism to make power-pop that is different from any other group in the genre. Benson skillfully played every instrument while in the studio recording, but he wants "to get a band and go into a studio and work with a producer, maybe, and focus on my parts -- singing and playing guitar -- and do those well, and not spread myself so thin."

The Alternative to Love is far brighter and happier (i.e. songs like "Spit It Out," "What I'm Looking For" and "Alternative Love") than Lapalco. Benson's lyrics are supposedly about love and the many (failed) relationships, but he quickly refutes that; "It's just stream of consciousness. Occasionally I'm singing about something specific, but it's more just stream of consciousness words and rhyming and nonsense. But I hope that people sort of can take (something out of it), that it means something to someone or that people will interpret it the way they want." Benson's songs are sometimes complex and can make you feel different things depending on the mood you're in. Some of his songs are simple too, and on those tracks he truly shines. It is definitely worth buying if you like pop music in general. I totally believe that Brendan Benson is overshadowed by the New Pornographers because of Neko Case (darned Canadian woman!!!) and Carl Newman (pop genius extraordinaire).

Brendan Benson has found his alternative to love; it's his music. He has produced records by V2 band Blanch, the Greenhornes, and even one of his side projects, the Raconteurs. "If I'm not working on music, anxiety sets in. Maybe it's not so healthy to stay locked away in a studio; you've got to live a life to write a song. But in 'Letters to a Young Poet,' Rilke said if you were in jail, cut off from the world, with nothing but a view of the sky from a small window, you'd still have your memories to write about. I love that." I can't agree with him more...


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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.
bjr (January 1, 2006)

sry if it was more of a press release i didn't mean it to be that way, expect higher quality in the future...

soulbleed (December 30, 2005)

about time someone reviewed this. "gold into straw" is probably my favorite song of 2005.

Anonymous (December 30, 2005)

Great Album. But after reading the review i feel like shoving a flashlight up my ass. I am not gonna actually do it. Shit PUNKNEWS dont provoke me. Also...i dunno if anyone noticed...but this album is now like a year old. punkNEWS....Should be TIMELY. Why bother at this point. Just pretend it was never released. I am sure there is a new Deep Elm Comp that we would love to read about. Thats a sarcastic tone for all you motherfuckers who actually have flashlights shoved up your asses.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

lol... Red Barclay

this review wasnt too flash so lets talk about the simpsons anyway

givemeamuseumandillfillit (December 28, 2005)

"...and up-and-comers the Greenhornes"

Who's a greenhorn? WHAT'S A GREENHORN?

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

horrific review

drawaflower (December 28, 2005)

This was such a good CD, but you did it injustice.

Anonymous (December 28, 2005)

Terrible review. I'm not sure which was worse, this one or your Patrick Wolf review. We don't come here for a press release.


Scruffy (December 27, 2005)

He's not John Lennon.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

next time, do the review yourself, and don't just cut and paste what other people had to say about it. you suck

Timis (December 27, 2005)

one might argue he broke it big in 1996...so i have no idea where you have been all these years.......

from your name - i would guess probably the ska scene.....

skolarx (December 27, 2005)

yet another detroit artist i hadn't heard of til they broke big. weird how you can be involved in a scene for 10 years and people like this slip through your radar

Timis (December 27, 2005)

get the first album...freakin rips....

darkstarm (December 27, 2005)

Music may be decent but what the fuck, is this a press sheet or an album review?

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

"Brendan Benson has found his alternative to love; itâ??s his music."

Yeah, I'm sure this succesful musical artist with a major label contract and an album out has lots of problems finding women to suck him off.

To use a cliche, "I'll pass."


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