Friday, August 31, 2007

Ben Harper - Lifeline

I have seen a very interesting clip on Ben Harper. During a live show he was asking to the audience about how they have known his music. On TV? No one. On the radio? No one. Thanks to the advice of a friend? An explosion! Anyone has known him thanks to the word of mouth. Such a primitive marketing tool!

I had the same experience. Magical. Half drunk, late at night. During a party with many friends I have suddenly heard the rhythm of a bongo coming out from the stereo. Then a fine acoustic guitar riff. And finally his voice. He put a spell on me. It was Ben Harper's one. He was singing "Burn One Down". I was hypnotized. Since then I have started to hear all of his music. Up to his simply wonderful cover of "Strawberry Fields". Stunning.

Due to the primitive marketing tool of the word of mouth I have started to be a genuine Harperoholic! Anytime a new release is announced I start to fell a strong interior conflict. On one side the happiness related to the good news of some more music from Ben Harper. On the other side the fear. Ben is not from Mars. Sooner or later he will fail. His artistic inspiration must disappear.

Anytime he releases a new album Ben Harper declares that it is his best one. The most complete. Actually I have never been disappointed by him. Anytime the fear for the flop is strongly kicked out by the beautyfulness of his music and by the very deep lyrics. It's incredible but time after time Ben Harper looks like a perfect guy who never fails. For sure, some albums are better than others. But anyone is surprising. Just one example: "There will be a light". Very far from the previous works. Ben Harper was able to renew his music without betray his soul. He was able to bring the Blind Boys of Alabama back to music. He made a real masterpiece.

It's clear enough that when I heard about the new album from Ben Harper I have started to feel a little anxious state of mind. I have to be honest. Truly. This time I had a strong feeling about a possible failure. After a double album arisen from the angry generated by Katrina hurricane. A shout in favor of all the (black) homeless not considered by the administration. After months of tour all around the world. After a week of work in Paris relegated in a studio with his innocent criminals he has created another masterpiece.

It's a black music album. Soul. It sounds like a record from the '70s. But it also sounds modern. Since from the very first listening I had the proof that Ben was right once again. It's not important to write about each of the 11 tracks. It's enough one that could represent the whole album: "Put it on". Like the Marley tune. But inspired from the golden era of Black Music. Amazing. Makes your heart beat faster. It makes you scream while singing following its rhythm with the body.

Maybe sometimes Ben Harper will record a bad album. I don’t know. For sure today he is more from Mars than from Planet Earth.

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