Release Date: Dec 10, 2013
Record label: Readymade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
Following the release of his fifth full-length, What Kind of World, in 2012, Nashville by way of Detroit singer/songwriter Brendan Benson offered fans a series of new singles, arriving monthly throughout 2013. You Were Right neatly packages the singles and several unreleased tracks in album form, blending together with all the cohesion of any of his previous records and making the fact that these songs were previously issued individually an afterthought. Benson's gift for tuneful power pop gradually met a more mature country influence following his three-chord masterpieces like One Mississippi and Lapalco, and with You Were Right, the strengths of all of Benson's eras of songwriting are in full force.
With Jack White putting the Raconteurs on perhaps a permanent leave of absence, co-frontman Brendan Benson continues work on his solo career. Last year saw the release of his What Kind of World album, and less than 12 months later comes this, a compilation of singles released over the past year fleshed out with some older songs he polished off and revisited. If that seems like a patchwork approach, one spin of these 15 tracks will remove any hesitation and prove that Benson is in top form on these ringing power pop gems.
On Brendan Benson's sixth solo album, the FM-gold guru — and occasional Jack White collaborator — turns into a dark-hearted relationship expert, spinning tales full of curb-kicked exes and embittered beaus (sample fun-time title: "She's Trying to Poison Me"). But it's a testament to his power-pop prowess that even his most downcast tunes are adamantly upbeat: "I'll Never Tell" is equal parts stomping and slinking, with a drum break straight out of Kiss' "Love Gun," and the minor-key harmonies and bucolic guitars of "The Fritz" are Apple Records to their core. It's all fetching, if tough to fully love — which may have been Benson's intent all along.
The 42-year-old member of The Raconteurs is back with a dependably enjoyable set of bulky, countrified rock songs on this, his fifth solo studio album. The only major difference from previous records is that the tunes aren’t as world-beating as they were on, say, 2012’s excellent ‘What Kind Of World’. Jerry Lee Lewis piano melodies are tapped out (‘Swallow You Whole’), Ryan Adams country blust-alongs are breezed through (‘Diamond’) and horrendously clichéd lyrics about a “diamond in the rough” are rolled out.
The whispers emanating from the glamorous world of rock & roll, on the outermost periphery of which DiS and your critic stand, are that a new album from the Raconteurs is on its way to us. Said whispers go into further detail, though, and suggest this won’t be about until the spring comes along and gives this miserable slate winter a quick and merciful death, so joining a new Raconteurs album on the periphery of things you, DiS and your critic actually wanted is You Were Right, a new album from Just Brendan Benson, here to warm this miserable slate winter like the heat given off by a fag butt discarded by someone miles off in middle of the world of rock & roll. Actually that’s a bit harsh.
Once a bold troubadour of power pop, Brendan Benson has slowly been veering towards the middle of the road for some time now. Whilst his workmanlike talent as a singer/songwriter remains steadfast, his output of late seems to lack the key components that made his earlier efforts—specifically on One Mississippi and Lapalco—shine so brightly. This leaves him to sleepwalk through most of the 15 songs that make up his latest album, You Were Right.
Pop auteur, producer, entrepreneur, and sometime member of the Raconteurs (the band he co-helms with fellow busybody Jack White), Brendan Benson is slowly building a reputation as a prolific multi-tasker exceedingly skilled in playing those various roles. Yet nowhere is his prowess more evident than on his individual albums, which find his devotion to both melody and motif given full reign. Helped along by a pair of Posies and other assorted guests, Benson’s created an album that stands as his best thus far, a vivid, emphatic encapsulation of pure pop coupled with unabashedly enthusiastic execution.