Cute As Ever
Young artists sometimes get more credit than their talent warrants just because they are cute and marketable. For Ben Kweller, being dangled in front of record execs with his band Radish at the tender age of fifteen did nothing to help his songwriting ability. His self-titled third record still reflects his boyish innocence and immaturity.Kweller, like most male figures in the lip-biting dreams of middle school girls, is sickeningly sweet. He sings about dancing in the moonlight, skipping town and “”kissing you between the eyes”” a little too often to be taken seriously by anyone other than this fanbase. Even when he seems to be employing genuine narrative in his songwriting it feels contrived. On “”Thirteen,”” a song so earnest even Kweller calls it tough to listen to, he recalls “”passionate makeouts / with passionate freakouts.”” In “”Sundress”” Kweller reflects, “”I want to start going on a morning walk / What about the days we used to talk / I don’t need a smile from a mannequin / I just want to hold you in my hands.”” But with the admission on “”Nothing Happening,”” “”The words we say won’t matter anyhow,”” maybe even Kweller knows that his haircut is more of a fan draw than his content.
ame The music on Ben Kweller is catchy, very dynamic and rhythmically tight considering Kweller played all the instruments himself. Sadly, the lyrics are so overbearingly silly that they taint everything else. Even Kweller’s questionable-at-best decision to tack a heavy song onto the end of the record garners not an appreciation for his range but rather possible insight into why Radish never succeeded. Can Kweller write a great pop tune because he has mastered imitating the Weezer catalogue or because he’s truly talented? Either way, he seems destined to remain a teenagerâ€šÃ„Ã¬that is, immatureâ€šÃ„Ã¬in his lyrical thoughts.