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Customer Reviews

Soulfully beautiful

I love Ben Harper and this is a great album. 2nd album that I got from him.

Like panning for gold

Reviewing a Ben Harper album is exactly like panning for gold. You have to sift through all the silt of his throwaways to get to the nuggets of gold hidden within. With Ben you either have good (some great) songs or bad songs. It's clear black and white between the two groups. There's not much room for grey. Which is ironic seeing as how the cover art is in grey scale.

This album is thematically more stable than most of his work. There's less wild swings in mood and genre. The result is an album with more keepers than he typically averages. There's some good folk and summery songs on here. This is one of his few albums rated as high as 4 stars.

I can't stop comparing him to Jack Johnson. It's like I want him to be a Jack clone. When he delivers breezy and summery songs in the vein of Jack, I am at my peak of being a Harper fan.

Ben at his best also reminds me of Amos Lee when he is also at the top of his work and there are a few songs on here that remind me a lot of my favorite Lee tunes.

This album still suffers from many of his typically annoying traits. The lyrics are just weird sometimes. This has been something ongoing since his first album. It's like he just hits spells of really shaky and weird writing. And he still repeats himself too much. Once you notice how he perseverates the title or main phrase, you can't unhear it and you just want it to stop. You just find yourself begging him to sing other lyrics.

He also still does hit the religious themes too hard as well. He took a great song in Having Wings and steered it towards celestial themes and just knocked it down by two stars. Before i realized he was singing about angels I was prepared to give it 5 stars, but had to give it 3 stars because i just don't get down with listening to religious stuff. It's clearly written for people who subscribe to what he does at the exclusion of listeners like me. I just can't generalize it. Still, this is the only religious song in his catalog, and there are many, that I have kept.

Lastly, the album ends in a coma. It just gets so slow and boring. What started out as a great, and possibly 5 star, album, just lays down and dies. Once again, Ben can't seem to keep his attention for a whole album.

A Perfect Album

In brief: there are no filler tracks. Every song is expertly crafted, and if memory serves, this was recorded in an old school manner; all instruments and the vocalist at once, just making it all the more impressive. Paris Sunrise #7 is a favorite, but is better appreciated when you reach the song after having gone through the odd number that come before it. If you like Ben Harper, this won't disappoint. If you're not sure, this is a great place to start.


Born: October 28, 1969 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining funky, groove-laden soul with handcrafted acoustic folk-rock, Ben Harper enjoyed cult status during the course of the '90s before gaining wider attention toward the decade's end. As a young artist, he drew his influences from classic singer/songwriters, blues revivalists, guitar slingers, and jam bands like Blues Traveler and Phish, which meant he was embraced by critics and college kids alike. Despite finding commercial success with the radio single "Steal My Kisses" in 2000, Harper continued...
Full Bio
Lifeline, Ben Harper
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Customer Ratings