Why do we like this guy so much? He is a horrible songwriter, he has a mediocre voice, and the instrumentation on his albums is decent at best. After a few agonizing hours of thinking, while sitting uncomfortably cramped in the seat of plane, I came up with this conclusion: Ben Kweller reminds us of someone we know- he is the goofy kid we sat next to in history class, he is the guy in front of us on the bus with the headphones, he is that obnoxious co-worker that laughs hysterically at his own jokes, at some point in our lives we have all met him and that's why we like him.
Fresh off the recent success of Sha Sha, and his collaboration with Ben Lee and Ben Folds on The Bens EP, Kweller strikes back with his most eclectic album yet, On My Way. Fret not BK fans, the majority of the album is still extremely campy and immature, however, don't be alarmed if you run across a few sporadic moments where he doesn't sound like Ben Folds Jr.
The second track of On My Way, "Hospital Bed" is the song we expected to find on this album. It's slow, piano heavy, and contains lyrics "la la la la la la". It's nothing that we haven't already heard from Kweller, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. A few other tracks on the album fall into this category; the only one worth noting is "My Apartment", a cleverly titled song about... well, his apartment. Fortunately for us, this apartment that he speaks of must have been located in the same building as the Strokes practice space because a few of the new tracks are drenched with a new, rockin' flavor.
On My Way brings us innocence sprinkled with aggression, confidence humbled by insecurity, and reassurance confronted by doubt. It's comforting to hear an album by one of music's wonderboys that would be fitting to serve as a soundtrack for the wonder years. But I think it's safe to say that Ben Kweller has learned this valuable lesson between the last two albums: writing love songs is great, but sometimes you gotta get off grandma's piano bench and step on the distortion pedal.
6.9 / 10
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