Ben Kweller – On My Way

In my attempt to join the tennis team with an erratic academic past (not completely my fault), I had to endure a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit (wow, an alliteration). Anyway, after having my screw-ups from, I kid you not, three years ago thrown in my face by a jackass of an Econ professor (the athletic advisor as well), one cam imagine my anger and the shredded state of my ego. It was not Columbine-type anger, more of a “who do you think you are?”-type anger.

Lucky for me I had just received On My Way to review, and it was currently in my CD Walkman. As I left the Econ department building I slipped on my headphones, pushed play and within seconds I felt my anger subside. I felt much better, almost happy even. Ordinarily, it takes the solemn-ness of AFI’s The Art of Drowning or the political angst of Propagandhi to save my soul from hours of torment. So, it was quite a surprise when the upbeat notes and melodies from the first song were able to patch up my ego with in seconds.

The words were not inspiring nor were they intriguing but the energy was inescapable. The more I consider what it was in “I Need You Back” that pulled away my anger so quickly, the less I find I am able to come up with any sort of slightly plausible explanation. One thing that does stick out when I listen to the song and compare it to the tap of my foot is that my foot follows the drum pattern. The drum pattern drives the song in a stable yet progressive matter. The guitar sequence only adds energy to it. That is what I came up with at least.

Still, don’t be fooled by my praises of energy and foot tapping fun. There are some more solemn songs on the album, “Living Life,” “On My Way” and my second pick of the album “Believer.” While the pace is different, the lyrics are still far from being acclaim worthy. Then again, not many lyrics these days are. Though elementary, at least Ben Kweller’s lyrics make some sort of sense. The album is relatively enjoyable, a nice fun break from the monotony of many bands. Yet, there is one thing I find irritating (having only one blatantly irritating thing, is quite a feat in these times). I cringe as Kweller repeats, “I know what you want, you want a piece of me.” If he is able to recognize this well, that’s well and good but frankly I don’t need to hear it over and over again.

As I skim through the songs on the album, I fear I may have overshadowed the appeal this album has by resting on the lyrics and one irritating thing. The manner in which the tracks are organized provide the listener for changes in paces, which are favorable and enjoyable. The slower songs are caring and soft, while the faster paced ones, while not brutally loud or overcompensating, are definite pick-me up songs. On My Way is good, clean, safe fun.

(ATO Records)

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