Ben Kweller

Record review

Texas Platters

Ben Kweller

(ATO)

Ben Kweller shoulda coulda been the next Kurt Cobain. In 1997, The New Yorker told us as much – in a sprawling, 10-page feature on the then 15-year-old Dallasite. The funny thing about hyperbolic proclamations of potential is that people only pay attention when you don't live up to them. To date, there's been no next Cobain. Not Kweller, not anyone. Even so, Kweller shaking the noose off with his third solo set suggests he's grown comfortably into a role that's undeniably less sexy, yet just as satisfying. Ben Kweller, self-titled because he plays every note himself, isn't just charming, confident, and smart. It might be the year's best and most unabashedly perky pop album. Across 40 minutes, there are toe-tappers, finger-snappers, and plenty of gorgeous ballads. The best tunes, such as "Nothing Happening" and "Sundress," are all three. The smartest, most timeless material here seems to have been constructed around sunny flourishes of piano, xylophone, and tambourine, but there's also some expatriate Texas twang, musically and lyrically; on "I Don't Know Why," he's "fixin' to loose it." By going the Stevie Wonder play-every-instrument route, it appears that Kweller's got something to prove. But make no mistake: Ben Kweller is breezy and buoyant, hallmarks of grand pop albums. And this is indeed a grand pop album. For that, consider at least some of Ben Kweller's potential fulfilled.

****

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Kalu & the Electric Joint Record Review
Kalu & the Electric Joint Record Review
Time Undone (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, Dec. 15, 2017

Heart-Shaped Box Sets
The Beatles / The Rolling Stones
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Deluxe Edition), Their Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Special Edition) (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 8, 2017

More by Andy Langer
Margaret Moser Tribute: Jimmie Vaughan
Jimmie Vaughan
“Everything back then felt like us versus them – and she was one of us”

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Chris Layton
Chris Layton
Antone’s, 1979: Hurricane Margaret blows in

June 30, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)