Free and legal MP3: Brendan Benson (multi-faceted ’70s-inflected ballad)

Recorded in an all-analog studio, “Bad For Me” oozes heart, craft, and ’70s goodness.

Brendan Benson

“Bad For Me” – Brendan Benson

And speaking of the 1970s, and Mott the Hoople, check this one out. Not really Mott this time, but Bowie-esque, certainly (he wrote “All The Young Dudes,” as some but not all may know). And that’s just the tip of the ’70s iceberg here, as attentive ears are likely to hear a splash of Rundgren, a sprinkle of ELO, and maybe even a touch of Nilsson or Eric Carmen in this one.

And Benson is not just talking the talk here. He went and made his new album, What Kind of World, at Nashville’s all-analog “Welcome to 1979” studio (“Fingers on strings, Hands on faders, Music on tape,” as they like to say). Recording in such an environment will affect not only how the music sounds but also what music one chooses to record in the first place. Sonically, structurally, and attitudinally, “Bad For Me” has little to do with standard ’10s blog-fare; equal parts heart and craft, it takes us on a four-minute adventure that ranges from intimate confessional to operatic melodrama and back again. The song even comes to a complete stop at one point (3:09). I don’t tend to get too caught up in sound-quality considerations but I adore the palpable, spacious warmth here, and how it plays out differently in the quieter versus the more expansive moments. Even something as simple as the bass player entering (0:42) seems to happen with rich, ear-opening lucidity.

Brendan Benson is an American singer/songwriter who at this point is most well-known for his association with Jack White and his membership in The Raconteurs. He does have four previous solo albums to his name. What Kind of World will be released in April on Benson’s new Readymade Records label. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the lead. MP3 via Better Propaganda.

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