Ben Kweller – On My Way

Ben KwellerOn My Way (ATO Records)

No one can ever accuse Ben Kweller of lacking energy. He is at times the epitome of what a young rocker should be; tearing up the Metro stage one minute and doing yoga on Carson Daily’s show for no apparent reason the next. On his new release, On My Way, the young Mr. Kweller’s energy is abundant and refreshing. In this era of maudlin euro-pop and cartoonish punk/metal aping, it’s nice to see that some kids still have fun just making rock records.

Paired this time around with producer Ethan Johns, On My Way crackles with the vinyl buzz of rock made simple. The live sound of the album lends a personal quality that suggests the music might just be coming from the basement next door. Unlike the previous Sha Sha, there’s no polished pop masterwork here, just good room sounds and warm guitar to microphone tones.

The vocal and guitar hooks that line the album are still very much Kweller’s own. “The Rules” has enough memorable guitar banging to keep many a cover band busy while the fans of Kweller’s anti-folk, coffee house days will be appeased by the bare acoustic title track, which references karate in the first two lines and still comes off as sweet.

At times the album rests heavily on its influences. The first track, “I Need You Back,” could very easily be Ben Kweller lending lead vocals to a King’s Of Leon instrumental, the very band that introduced Ben to the idea of recording with Johns. In other tracks I heard equally significant Let It Be-era Beatles references as well as some good old Detroit garage rock. Though the songs remain catchy, it’s better when Kweller is just Kweller.

The closing track, “Different But The Same,” may be the best track on the album. It’s mature and well crafted, in both writing and production. The album cover depicts Kweller standing tall among the wolves and the album does the same. It’s not Sha Sha and that’s what’s good about it. Ben Kweller has grown and matured and gone from clever pop to smart rock very gracefully.

—Josh Boisvert

3 thoughts on “Ben Kweller – On My Way”

  1. Ben Kweller’s On My Way, a follow up to Sha Sha, is an awesome cd and i recommend it for anyone who liked Sha Sha and is looking for some great new songs from Ben. I love to put it on in the morning and sing the catchy songs all day! Go buy it!

  2. boring. bland. boring. boring. bland.

    those are the only two words to describe this boring, bland guys music.

  3. I LOVE BEN KWELLER!!!!! OMG!!! My faovorite song of his is Wasted and Ready, and On my way, which i find to be very funny.

    AHH Ben is sooo cute too!! LOL

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