Brendan Benson

You Were Right

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Following the release of his fifth full-length, What Kind of World, in 2012, Nashville by way of Detroit singer/songwriter Brendan Benson offered fans a series of new singles, arriving monthly throughout 2013. You Were Right neatly packages the singles and several unreleased tracks in album form, blending together with all the cohesion of any of his previous records and making the fact that these songs were previously issued individually an afterthought. Benson's gift for tuneful power pop gradually met a more mature country influence following his three-chord masterpieces like One Mississippi and Lapalco, and with You Were Right, the strengths of all of Benson's eras of songwriting are in full force. Tunes like "It's Your Choice" and the jaunty "As of Tonight" pull on the influence of classic '70s power pop acts like Badfinger, 10cc, and the Raspberries that has popped up on previous albums, but lean just a little harder on a George Harrison jangle than before. Elsewhere, nods to Bowie, Nilsson, and even FM radio staples like the Eagles and America come through, as with the shuffling rock of "Long Term Goal" or "Swallow You Whole," which comes off like the Kinks at their most vaudevillian. The 15 tracks here showcase Benson's skillful capture of his various muses without feeling too scattered or overly eclectic. Cheeky story-songs like the horn-heavy "She's Trying to Poison Me" sound at home next to the Beatles-referencing "Purely Automatic" and even the slightly spooky honky tonk rock of "Swimming." More of a well-crafted showcase for Benson's always strong tunes than a greatest-hits collection, You Were Right feels like a proper album and meets the same high bar set by his previous work. At points it even surpasses previous efforts, perhaps the all-consuming pressure of making an album being alleviated by focusing on making singles one hit at a time.

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