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Harper hits on both sides

Mike Thomas
Special to the Daily"Both Sides of the Gun," by Ben Harper.
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There have never been any questions as to how good Ben Harper is; he can sing, play a mean guitar and create resonant melodies, but can he do it without bordering on being preachy and predictable? Harper succeeds for the most part on “Both Sides of the Gun,” a double disc, but falls noticeably short on a few tracks. For example: “Get it Like You Like It,” featuring vocals from Chris Robinson – who delivers his powerful, emotional swagger – is filled with cliche lyrics, in particular a verse about the Red Sox winning the world series, and like that, the swagger disappears.The two discs here are decidedly different; the first filled with ballads and sweeping melodies while the second takes off on an edgier direction – more rock ‘n’ roll. “Morning Yearning,” the first track on disc No. 1 beams with a quiet, subtle beauty; Harper’s tone so soft, yet powerful at the same moment. If you can tolerate a little cheese and some out-loud thinking you may not agree with, than “Both Sides of the Gun” is worth looking into for its bright moments.

VirginThere have never been any questions as to how good Ben Harper is; he can sing, play a mean guitar and create resonant melodies, but can he do it without bordering on being preachy and predictable? Harper succeeds for the most part on “Both Sides of the Gun,” a double disc, but falls noticeably short on a few tracks. For example: “Get it Like You Like It,” featuring vocals from Chris Robinson – who delivers his powerful, emotional swagger – is filled with cliche lyrics, in particular a verse about the Red Sox winning the world series, and like that, the swagger disappears.The two discs here are decidedly different; the first filled with ballads and sweeping melodies while the second takes off on an edgier direction – more rock ‘n’ roll. “Morning Yearning,” the first track on disc No. 1 beams with a quiet, subtle beauty; Harper’s tone so soft, yet powerful at the same moment. If you can tolerate a little cheese and some out-loud thinking you may not agree with, than “Both Sides of the Gun” is worth looking into for its bright moments.

If you don’t know who Prince is by this point, at least for the song “1999” when you were really drunk as the 21st century officially began, and you were singing, “tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999,” then shame on you. But the truth is, the illusive pop star from Minnesota has created quite the catalog of diverse and totally bizarre R&B, soul, rock and pop over the past two decades. His latest venture is deep soul and dizzying electro-funk with other oddities one can always count on from the man who once changed his name to a rather ambiguous looking symbol. Take “Black Sweat” for example, which is brimming with so much retro.After taking a hiatus of sorts from his name and identity, Prince, in his second album back since his return from being a symbol, takes a definitive step in the right direction with “3121” to being his old self. The album is a must for any Prince fan and should spurn the curiosity of any listener willing to open up their ears and their perceptions about what pop music should sound like.



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