Sound — 8
The two discs each have a distinctive sound and without the separation into two seperate sets of songs (Side 1, composed of softer songs, and Side 2 the somewhat harder side), the album probably could have fallen apart. The fact that they are, though, makes the album very easy lisening. Smooth sound, maybe a little too smooth around the edges. Ben Harper, in my opinion, is interesting because he doesn't over-produce his albums, they're mostly pretty raw. He does, however, show his grungier side on certain somewhat off-time solos. Overall, pretty good sound.
Lyrics — 7
Ben Harper's older songs are lyrically more inspired, coming across with the gentleness of his soft voice (e.g.: Waiting On An Angel; Walk Away). He's obviously been told by some higher power (label executives) that he can't keep it soft, and he consequently has a stronger, more assertive voice. Although this plays to his advantage in certain songs on disc 2 (the rock side), his voice could have had more effect on the listener if it was softer.
Overall Impression — 8
His albums have always had a lot of appeal, but this one feels a little like he sold out a little bit, and cleaned up his style that was so wonderfully eclectic in his previous albums. Not as good as his previous efforts, but still worth buying a copy of. On the downside, it's copy protected, making it very difficult to copy the songs. All in all, though, it's a pretty good album by an excellent artist.