Ben Lee - Ben Lee Sings Against Me! New Wave (Cover Artwork)

Ben Lee

Ben Lee: Ben Lee Sings Against Me! New WaveBen Lee Sings Against Me! New Wave (2007)

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

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

Ben Lee covering an entire Against Me! album, really? I hope Jason Bay is wide-awake in left field because this cover record was hit out there with force. A decelerated and 100% acoustic version of New Wave is precisely what the AM! purists wanted the band's major label debut to sound like, altho.

Ben Lee covering an entire Against Me! album, really? I hope Jason Bay is wide-awake in left field because this cover record was hit out there with force.

A decelerated and 100% acoustic version of New Wave is precisely what the AM! purists wanted the band's major label debut to sound like, although I'm sure they'll still find reasons to get up in arms over a decorated indie pop star from down under reworking a few punk anthems that they might catch their mother listen to.

I thoroughly enjoy Lee's voice, but it doesn't work well on all of the songs. He's too gentle and compassionate for coarse tracks like "White People for Peace" and "Americans Abroad." On the contrast, he steals some of the thunder from "New Wave," almost converting it into his own tune. My only gripe with the aforementioned track is his Australian accent mudding up the word "shores" to where it sounds like "chores."

Another track that fairs well acoustically is "Up the Cuts" -- a gracious piano and humble alt-rock beat carry it simply, while adding a certain charm. The "ba ba ba"s on the album's lead single "Thrash Unreal" work a little better coming from Ben than they do for Tom Gabel. "Stop" was one of my favorite cuts on New Wave, but I'm not too fond of Lee's endeavor; the same can be said for "Bourne on the FM Waves of the Heart." I find that humorous, seeing as that's the track that Tegan guests on, which was one of the main reasons Ben listened to Against Me! in the first place. The cover is a dud, because without one-half of the Quin twins it loses its captivating appeal, even if Lee delivers his vocal parts in superior fashion.

"Animal" is the worst song AM! have ever recorded, and the same can quickly be said for Ben. I'm still not sure how I feel about his rendition of "Ocean." During my initial listen I couldn't wait to hear it, because I had a feeling his cute and playful style would take the song to immeasurable altitudes. However, it resonates on par with Gabel's initial effort. I'm not vilifying it, as I adore the song, I just felt Ben could have done a finer job. Perhaps it's the weird strain on his voice as he croons "there is an ocean / in my soul" that affects my opinion.

One thing that is severely missing from this collection: Add a few soft thumps and a plethora of these songs would fashion into the perfect "Against Me!-lite" sound. My pleasure with these songs trumps any negatives however and I'm glad an artist like Ben Lee decided to tackle a punk rock record.

Listen to and download the complete album here.

Read Ben Lee's Blog about covering the album here.


People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Dillinger Four - C I V I L W A RFake Problems - It's Great to Be AliveThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionOperation Ivy - Operation IvyReel Big Fish - Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for FreeThe Suicide Machines - Destruction By DefinitionCobra Skulls - American Rubicon

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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 (August 28, 2007)

Jet Li can't sing

sfbarker (August 28, 2007)

This was an alright release, but it came WAY too soon after the initial album, seemed like Ben Lee was just looking for a quick way to expand the fan base.

New Wave was a good album, I don't really see the hatred towards Animal when Bourne on the FM Wave of the Heart or some such shit is horrible. Lyrically weak, Tegan is way too cutesy sounding to pull it off next to Gabel, it's the trainwreck Wish You Well was for the Bouncing Souls.

Duets are for easy listening folks who are into stupid, sappy song with no real substance. At least Lee didn't try to recreate it.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

...the kid who bitches, or the kid who bitches about bitches bitching.

Anonymous (August 28, 2007)

the album is excellent, except for animal.. which is the worst song they've ever created, but that's not saying much.

Anonymous (August 27, 2007)

"Lee is one of the worst songwriter's I have ever heard"


Anonymous (August 27, 2007)

Animal is a killer song, one of their best!

Anonymous (August 26, 2007)

Ben Lee rules.

MisFit4Me (August 26, 2007)

I agree with the person below me. You guys are a bunch of whiney little bitches, I haven't seen a more immature bunch in a long time. The only things I can complain about Against Me's new album is that Stop and Animal fucking suck. The rest of the album is amazing, I just wish it were longer. Both versions are badass, get over it.

Anonymous (August 26, 2007)

Wah wah wah. Ben Lee doesn't "get" Against Me the same way I do. Wah wah wah. I remember when I was blah blah blah-ing at the blah blah blah house and against me played and it was the realest thing I've ever experienced. Now they aren't my favorite band anymore because they're other peoples favorite band. WAH WAH WAH

This album rocks. Both versions.

Anonymous (August 26, 2007)

yep just what i thought, more kids crying about against me not playing in their basements anymore even though you 99% of you didnt even hear em till they were on fat. go fuck yourselves. Against me is a good band.

Anonymous (August 25, 2007)

Why didn't Colin review this?

Oh, that's right...you wanted to have someone actually review the album!

What a novel approach!

skankbook (August 25, 2007)

I can't help but love this album. I'm typically not into him or Ben Lee-esque bands, but this is definitely one of the biggest and best surprises in recent memory.

MisFit4Me (August 25, 2007)

Despite leaving out Tom Gabel's voice, I truely do enjoy this. I like some of the songs better than the actual album, but some of the songs (Stop) could not be fixed.

Anonymous (August 25, 2007)

why the fuck does everyone hate animal so much.

Anonymous (August 25, 2007)

""Stop" was one of my favorite cuts on New Wave"

Credibility lost.

punk_rawk_show (August 25, 2007)

Ahhh but Kirby, how do you know when i heard about it lol

Inspection12e (August 25, 2007)

Hate leads to the dark side.

Anonymous (August 25, 2007)

Two dif. people reviewed the actual album. Thus the dif. scores...duh? Also, punkrawkshow, I heard about this before your news.

Punknews commenters are so predictable.


Anonymous (August 25, 2007)

was at a festival one time and saw ben lee get hit in the head with a bottle. best show ever.

i don't think there could be anyone worse than ben lee to cover against me. except maybe norma jean, those guys are terrible.

BTDAN (August 25, 2007)

Sadly better than the actual album hahha

punk_rawk_show (August 24, 2007)

Wow I never thought my first ever submitted news would actually get showed, let alone reviewed.

I really like this album (Against Me version) I prefer RAR, but i dont really like SFAFC and I havnt given Eternal Cowboy much of a listen other than Sink Florida Sink. I still dont see why it gets so much hate

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

am i suppose to know who Ben Lee is?

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

so "animal" is the worst song they've ever recorded. wow awesome review.

branden (August 24, 2007)


Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

While I constantly bitch and moan, I sing along to "The Ocean" in the shower.

- Colin

skaboom (August 24, 2007)

1. The anti-AM crowd is hilariously predictable.
2. These covers are pretty good. A couple songs are duds, but a couple songs on the real album are duds as well. If you take it for what it is (a free cd, probably recorded in a home studio over a couple days) it's a fun listen.

Amazingthemike (August 24, 2007)

Jason Bay? The Pirates suck hard... He would let it go over his head, if they actually kept it in the park.

-Strewtho- (August 24, 2007)

I can't stand Ben Lee. Someone tear up his passport, Australia doesn't want him.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

who cares. this website fucking blows my 12 inch penis.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

Ben Lee is an embarrassment to the people of Australia.

It bothers me no end that he is able to be continually labeled as a star of the Australian music industry, when he pumps out shitty, unoriginal crap, worship by slags. I can honestly say, a huge number of people in this fair land wish that he would die in a house fire.

Ben Lee... you suck.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)
wallofyouth (August 24, 2007)

how long till the label makes them drop the exclamation point from their name

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

Screw talking about Against Me! I'm bored with them, and they didn't kill my mom or drown puppies, so I'm not gonna complain about that here.

What I'm pissed about is anything Ben Lee has ever created getting anything above 0 stars on any website ever. Lee is one of the worst songwriter's I have ever heard, and, on top of that, we shouldn't be rewarding him for this publicity stunt, let alone for only getting into AM! approximately two weeks ago.
On top of THAT, his covers of New Wave make the original sound like the best album ever recorded. Stop telling yourself this is good because it's got novelty. That doesn't equal quality!

jacknife737 (August 24, 2007)

"You're going to have to kill the band members. Once all the in memoriam hubbub dies down, there won't be anymore news"

Ah, but you forget about re-releases, tribute albums, a movie based on Tom Gabel's life, a posthumous duet between Gabel and The Notorious B.I.G., and a remix of New Wave by Fat Boy Sslim,

jacknife737 (August 24, 2007)

I think these covers are bloody awful.

I also really, really lolā??d that this got a better score then the original album.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

i'm 24 and after a shitty breakup went from 180 to 166 pounds. i've stopped losing weight but i am still a little flabby. how can i harden up my mid section. crunches seem to be working only real slow and really it's not that much. i drink a lot of beer. is my only option to quit all the booze. i do lots of running. 4 miles 5 times a week. any suggestions on how to stop this plateau i've hit and get a little more hard/lean?

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

jason bay is a c fielder at best

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

how much freaking money has sire pumped into viral promotion?
against me! is so far from anything related to punk these days. ugh.

sciulli (August 24, 2007)

Against Me are releasing acoustic versions of New Wave and Animal on iTunes next week.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

It's like shit covering shit, which adds up to a lot of shit.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

It's weird I really didn't like it at first. But now I find myself not only listening to Lee's verision and AM!'s version more, after I had pretty much dismissed it.

Archangel (August 24, 2007)

"How does this get a better review than the actual album?"

I've seen a lot of covers that turned out far better than the original. See: Matt Pryor.

(Not that I'm commenting on this at all; I haven't listened to it.)

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

Well, everything against me ever said immediately went out the window when they signed to sire. they really don't have anything important to say at all.

HumanUnkind (August 24, 2007)

I'm not scoring this because it sucks. And since he lacks any knowledge about AM! or the point of any of their songs, nevermind these ones, he completely misses the point of them when he sings about them.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

"goddammit i'm sick of hearing about Against Me on this website

can we go ONE WEEK without any Against Me news or reviews please"

You're going to have to kill the band members. Once all the in memoriam hubbub dies down, there won't be anymore news.

Banal242 (August 24, 2007)

How does this get a better review than the actual album?

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

goddammit i'm sick of hearing about Against Me on this website

can we go ONE WEEK without any Against Me news or reviews please

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

score is for against me's integrity.


Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

the thing is the lyrics are total shit. worst ever. they seem like a joke. also, i hate to say it, these self proclaimed anarchist sold out and proved they ment nothing they ever sang about. fake as any candy ass pop band on mtv. if you think these guys are original or punk any any form, the jokes on you.....poser.

Booker_Pee (August 24, 2007)

this is merely okay. it is was someone with a stronger/less annoying voice singing it it would be flawless. say, tom gabel for instance.

colin (August 24, 2007)

the last thing this world needs is more of this record.

coldwaffles (August 24, 2007)

tom doesn't do the ba bas

red_eye_inc (August 24, 2007)

I thought this was cool as well. Nice review.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

I never ask this question, but seriously, should Against Me news even be posted on this site anymore? Those fucks are hypocrites of the worst kind. Tom Gabel has to be one of the fakest people in music today.

Anonymous (August 24, 2007)

Cats are pretty dam cool yeah? I hope somebody paid that cat in petting/biscuits for the use of its image.

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