New Tracks Exclusive: Ben Lorentzen

When I’m listening to folk rock, there are only a few attributes that I’m looking for in an artist or band. First, I’m looking for sparkling story-weaving that will take you on a journey from start to finish. Second, I’m listening out for that grassroots sound that has defined folk for decades and decades. Lastly, I’m searching for basic human connection. Though the storytelling can be specific about an issue, event, person, etc., it HAS to be relatable and speak to all hearts.

Listening through singer/songwriter Ben Lorentzen’s new album, America, I felt confused. On one hand, he has mastered his sound perfectly. His instrumentals are haunting, stunning, and downright dazzling throughout the album. The storytelling though, is lacking. In the first half of the album, most of the songs were heavy with repetitious lyrics, and not in a good way. As a result, the stories never get off the ground, and leave the listener with a massive disconnection to the music. It wasn’t that his story or lyrics were too simple (because simple can be powerful). Instead, it was more like there was no story at all. For example, in “The Ugliest Girl in the World,” all we know is that there is a girl, and she’s ugly, poor, and has a black soul. But to the singer, she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. There’s no call to action. Okay, now what do we do with that? Much like the whole album, this track was extremely open-ended and never resolved itself. This can be maddening when expecting to be transported by powerful storytelling.

With the exceptions of “Heap of Ashes” and “Masters of War,” the album left me wanting more from Lorentzen. Maybe next time. C

4 comments

  1. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this...
    The ugliest girl in the world is just odd. This reminds me of something Lars Hammond would sing in Serendipity lol

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  2. Interesting! I agree with you about the lyrics. I do like the guitar work.

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  3. I really love folk rock, and completely agree with you on what it needs to be great. You made such good points in your review. Hopefully, his next album will be better.

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  4. I have to agree. Overall, I was disappointed.

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