The refreshing thing about Ben Kweller is that every album he comes out with has a different sound that doesn't alienate any of his fans. His mixture of classic rock and alternative rock keeps fans old and young listening.
At first, Ben Kweller's third full-length, a self-titled effort, sounds feebler than his previous works. And it's true, Ben Kweller doesn't hold as much of the alternative rock feel that Sha Sha and On My Way had. However, fans won't be disappointed. It's clear that Kweller really tried to lose his alternative rock feel and move in to his own style on this album. Kweller really tried to grow as an artist, and the result is good, though it could use some work.
Ben Kweller opens up with several acoustic jingles filled with piano, similar to things we've heard from Kweller but with a refreshing sound. Midway through, the album finds catchier rock songs not unlike some songs on On My Way. The most notable of these songs is the single, "Penny on the Train Track." However, the album ends somewhat lamely. It seems Kweller is still having trouble leaving the garage rock phase behind. The end song on the CD, "This is War," is an anthem to those days, but it doesn't really fit in with the mood set in the rest of the album.
You can expect any Ben Kweller CD to have a slow, usually acoustic, love song. But Ben Kweller outdid himself this time around, Ben Kweller is home to three slow piano songs. These songs are interesting enough on their own, but together, they slow down the pace of the album. I guess Kweller thought On My Way wasn't sappy enough so he responded by overdoing it in this album.
Despite these drawbacks, Ben Kweller's third album came out pretty solid. The rock songs are catchy and the piano songs are moving. Kweller has built himself a very strong fanbase that will keep him selling CD's no matter what style he comes out with. But what Kweller really wants is to make an album that is inventive and gets him a reputation as a good songwriter. It seems that that has eluded him yet again.
7.3 / 10
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