You Were Right

On Brendan Benson's sixth solo album, the FM-gold guru — and occasional Jack White collaborator — turns into a dark-hearted relationship expert, spinning tales full of curb-kicked exes and embittered beaus (sample fun-time title: "She's Trying to Poison Me"). But it's a testament to his power-pop prowess that even his most downcast tunes are adamantly upbeat: "I'll Never Tell" is equal parts stomping and slinking, with a drum break straight out of Kiss' "Love Gun," and the minor-key harmonies and bucolic guitars of "The Fritz" are Apple Records to their core. It's all fetching, if tough to fully love — which may have been Benson's intent all along.

From The Archives Issue 1197: December 5, 2013