Review : Ben Lee - The Rebirth Of Venus
PastemagazineAussie crooner Ben Lee has been steadily releasing sticky-sweet indie pop since age 14. Now 30, the singer/songwriter is all grown up. His marriage to actress Ione Skye gained him a stepdaughter and brand new band member (the child plays pots and pans on the opener, the album’s best track), and his new family’s presence is resoundingly felt. While Lee has tiptoed onto the verge of message music before, fatherhood has clearly awakened his outlook on life as he steers away from heartbreak tunes, instead concentrating on our problem-fraught world (“Wake Up to America,” “I Love Pop Music”) and his feminine side (“I’m a Woman Too,” “Boy with a Barbie”). While Lee’s preachy lyrics often feel forced and rarely reach beneath the surface of the issues, the man known for homespun sing-alongs retains his catchy strumming and perfect blend of sweet and funny musings, making it difficult not to root for him....full text
BostonThe quirky Aussie popster gets in touch with his feminine side on his latest release, a tribute to the woman inside us all, even dudes like Lee. But he never loses touch with his melodic side amid all his XX cheerleading, which is a good thing since he has to navigate lyrics like "our leaders have not committed to a plan of action on renewable energy" on the meta-catchy "I Love a Pop Song." But Lee pulls it off - and has fun with the earnest sermonizing while he's at it. And there's much fun to be found here: on the peppy "Yoko Ono," the let's-flip-gender-identity-roles electro-rocker "Boy With a Barbie," and the swoony, self-deprecating "Bad Poetry." Musically, he skates from sparkling acoustic guitar and piano arrangements to offbeat constructions of fuzzy synths and variety-pack percussion. He overuses the chorus of friends device, but his overarching manifesto, summed up in the first tune, "What's So Bad (About Feeling Good)?," makes it hard to stay annoyed; "No guilt, all pleasure," goes the chorus chant. The original Venus could probably get on board with that idea. (Out tomorrow) SARAH RODMAN...full text
Popmatters.I remember in my first year of university, I went to a Ben Lee concert held at the uni bar. Having seen Lee perform previously, I knew his live performances could be a little patchy or too quirky but the singer seemed to be in good spirits, as did the crowd. But what was so memorable about that night was when Lee came back on stage for encore and sang “We’re All In This Together” and gradually the whole room broke into this joyful sing-along, everyone chanting the title line over and over in growing, swelling voices. There was something beautiful and uplifting about it. At least for three and a half minutes, I felt connected to every person in that room, some people I vaguely recognised and others I had never met. It was comforting to be reminded, through the medium of a pop song, that we are in fact all in this life together, this life of happiness and heartache, fun and disappointment. It was one of those moments that make you feel grateful to be alive at that very second and grateful for all the wonderful, stupid little things that make up your life....full text
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