Music Review: Ben Kweller, Go Fly a Kite

On “Go Fly a Kite,” Ben Kweller’s newest album and first on his own label (Noise Company), he is as charming as ever. For the most part, his songs back this charm up with solid musicianship, even though the lyrics are somewhat disappointing. Kweller has always had a unique way of charming listeners. Ever since his debut, listeners have had high expectations. It is hard to dislike Kweller. His songs capture his charm to an impressive degree, even when you dislike a song, you desperately want to like it.

On the opener “Mean to Me,” Kweller sets the tone for an album with strong guitar melodies and solos ripe with influences from his favorite artists. The next song on the album “Out the Door” is probably the catchiest tune with a mellow tone mixed with a few fun guitar riffs. The album’s theme of embracing life and all of its unknowns is first introduced on this song as Kweller explains that “there’s no way to know which way to go,” and claims at the same time “there’s no need to know.” At the age of 30, Kweller seems to be capturing the mindset of a twenty-year-old.

The theme becomes more pronounced on “Free” where he reaffirms that he “doesn’t need any answers,” and again on “Full Circle” where he exudes a sense of completeness in life, having come “full circle.” However, the lyrics here are desperately thin. He says, “Don’t judge anyone because everyone comes full circle,” which is probably a true statement but sounds a tad self-righteous. Kweller does a good job telling listeners that he has come full circle, but never really explains what full circle he has completed. The album is decent. The songs are fun and prove to be some of Kweller’s more musically impressive offerings, especially on album standouts like “Jealous Girl” and “Justify Me.” The lyrics are less complex than those of his previous albums, but once again, Kweller’s charm lulls listeners into a trance where what he is saying hardly matters.


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