Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oldies But Goodies

Brendan Benson - Lapalco

In a just world Brendan Benson would be selling millions of records and teaching the art of perfect pop songwriting at his private college, Pop University. Even with gushing critical acclaim, Lapalco achieved only minor success and has slid under the radar as one of the underrated gems of this past decade.

Lapalco, released in 2002, was the second and best of three solid albums for Mr. Benson. The problem is that in 2002 the radio waves were still clogged with Pop Punk and Rap Metal garbage posing as 'Pop Music' and there was no room for Brendan. Had this album been released in the late 60's or early 70's we might be seeing it in Rolling Stone articles where they discuss the Top 100 albums of all time. Lapalco wasn't alternative enough for play on modern rock stations or commercial enough for Top 40 so he did what other musicians in similar situations do - get a few songs in movies, commercials and TV shows and that pays the bills enough for them to tour and continue cranking out fantastic yet barely heard music.

I too often throw out 'Beatlesesque' when describing music like the 12 songs found on Lapalco but this is one case when it is well deserved. The slow burn of Metarie that explodes in harmonies upon reaching the chorus would make Lennon and McCartney proud. Other songs that wouldn't seem out of place on a late Beatles record include Good To Me, What and Jet Lag. You can tell that Brendan grew up listening to the classic albums of the 60's and 70's and his music seems familiar without sounding like a cheap imitation.

More recently Brendan Benson has found popularity and more commercial success partnering with friend Jack White in The Raconteurs. He also has a new solo album My Old, Familiar Friend set to be released later this year and I already have it penciled in for The Skog Blog End of the Year Top 12 Countdown.


Wheels said...

Wheels likes this.

Corbie said...

Corbie does too.