Both Sides Of The Gun review by Ben Harper

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  • Released: Mar 21, 2006
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.6 (18 votes)
Ben Harper: Both Sides Of The Gun

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.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    disc 2 was would not have a better effect if his voice was softer. its devoted nearlyi entirely to protest songs, mostly against President Bush and the state of the world under pressure from wars and nuclear arms and such. while the first side is a bit too glossed over formy liking, i don't think he was told by record execs how to sing, seeing as how long he has been around, i would assume he has more artistic control over that. if hes protesting so much, wouldn't he protest some executive telling him how to protest?
    i love this cd! the first half are some of the best written songs i've ever heard - "Reason to Mourn" is incredible. "Dont talk About Murder WHile Im Eatin" is a great one on the second disc.
    I don't think he sold out at all, it's a great cd. Ben Harper will never sell out. I don't see him on MTV 24/7. Well... I don't watch mtv so i'm not sure... but i'm guessing.
    In my mind ben harper has never done a bad song or cd. I dont think he ever will either. He is just amazing.
    rollingstones wrote: In my mind ben harper has never done a bad song or cd. I dont think he ever will either. He is just amazing.
    Agreed. One of the greatest, most underrated musicians of our time, genius.