11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backed by The Innocent Criminals for the first time in nearly a decade, Call It What It Is simmers with fiery social commentary and rootsy fusions. While the songwriter's blues-influenced rock doesn’t shy away from the calls for social protest (“Call It What It Is,” “Dance Like Fire”), the album is lightened by moments of sunny pop (“Shine”) and sublime folk (“Goodbye to You”). Eclectic and ambitious, Call It What It Is brings the musical and collaborative triumphs of Harper’s best work to bear on the urgent issues of the day.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backed by The Innocent Criminals for the first time in nearly a decade, Call It What It Is simmers with fiery social commentary and rootsy fusions. While the songwriter's blues-influenced rock doesn’t shy away from the calls for social protest (“Call It What It Is,” “Dance Like Fire”), the album is lightened by moments of sunny pop (“Shine”) and sublime folk (“Goodbye to You”). Eclectic and ambitious, Call It What It Is brings the musical and collaborative triumphs of Harper’s best work to bear on the urgent issues of the day.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5

73 Ratings

Not encouraged

T-Bag Surprise,

I love BHIC, but this song is pretty awful. Call it What it Is sounded uninspired to me too. A weak attempt to recreate ‘Like a King,’ a song that I love to this day.

If they’re going to continue touring after this year, I’m fine with it being a new-album centered tour. If the rest of the songs follow suit with these two yawners, they do the tour behind the album, and then Ben runs off to do side projects for another 15 years, I’m going to feel a huge letdown.

Gone for good

ILUV2CWSP,

Extremely dissappointed in Ben Harper's new release. I would gather that "call it what it is" makes reference to Quentin Tarantino's misguided, hypocrytical and ignorant comments concerning police. Once he mentioned the MURDER of Micharl Brown I was finished. I dont know what Ben thinks he is fixing or what divide he is healing by perpetuating lies. I own everything BH has released and I will never buy his music again. He should have titled this cd "hands up dont shoot", something else that didnt happen. Absolute ear garbage.

About Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Singer/songwriter Ben Harper formed the Innocent Criminals to act as his supporting band for 1999's Burn to Shine, his fourth album and first to focus heavily on his rock side. From that point on, the Innocent Criminals were a semi-regular concern, the group that Harper returned to whenever he wanted to underscore his funky, fuzz-guitar side.

The Innocent Criminals featured bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Dean Butterworth, and percussionist David Leach, all showcased on Burn to Shine. That album started to increase Harper's exposure -- it inched up to 67 on the Billboard Top 200 and went all the way to two in Australia -- and between that 1999 set and the next Innocent Criminals album, Lifeline, in 2007, Harper's star rose thanks to the albums Diamonds on the Inside (2003) and Both Sides of the Gun (2006). By that point, only Nelson remained in the Innocent Criminals lineup; the rest of the band comprised guitarist Michael Ward, drummer Oliver Charles, keyboardist Jason Yates, and percussionist Leon Mobley. Lifeline debuted at nine in the U.S. and the band supported it with a tour. It took Harper nearly ten years to return to the band, but he did so in 2016, releasing Call It What It Is that spring. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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