Gearing up to release his yet-to-be-titled next album, Brendan Benson is proving why he’s one of the finest songwriters around. Four years on from his sixth studio album You Were Right, the first taste of the new album comes in the form of the delightful country-tinged pop record “Half A Boy (And Half A Man)”. Speaking on the creation of the track, Benson says: “After writing and producing other people’s music for some time now, it’s really gratifying to be doing my own thing. I feel like a kid again. Like half a boy and half a man.”
Releasing his seventh album (hopefully) later this year, we caught up with the prolific songwriter to find out which tracks inspired the record.
Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
This song blew my mind (along with everyone else’s)! It’s pretty much a masterpiece. I love all the sonic textures and the whole evolution of it. It transports me, for sure. It’s that song that can never be loud enough.
Sia – “Chandelier”
My wife and kids (five and seven) have turned me on to a lot of current pop music. I resisted at first, but it was this song that I just shouldn’t deny. It’s got it all: a SLAMMING track, a BEAUTIFUL song, and an INCREDIBLE vocal. Man, I love her voice. The more I’m exposed to this stuff, the more I like. Sia was sort of my “gateway” into that world.
Kendrick Lamar – “DNA”
I loved rap in the 80s but lost interest after A Tribe Called Quest. Now, with Jay Z and Kendrick and others, I love it again. It’s so multi-level and dense, especially Kendrick. I’m hanging on every word and always rewinding like, “what?! Did he just say ‘sit down, be humble’?!” You don’t hear that kind of thing much in rap. I especially love the last part of the song where his words are edited together with no breaths, humanly impossible – BRILLIANT.
The Shelters – “Rebel Heart”
My wife heard these guys and told me I would like them. She was right. In fact, I got obsessed there for a few weeks. The arrangements on this record are so simple! Reminding me that the power can be achieved with a great song instead of a huge production.
The Killers – “Runaways”
I was mixing a song for a band and they cited this song as a reference. I didn’t think I liked The Killers until I heard this. It reminds me of the 80’s a bit, IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY! Like Bryan Adams or something; very triumphant and anthemic, like it’s the last song on earth. But they kinda nailed it. I also love the production. It’s almost “thin” sounding, but still totally badass!
Indigo Girls – “Happy In The Sorrow Key”
This came on while I was streamlining at random and I flipped out…twice! Firstly because the song is so cool and second because it’s The Indigo Girls! It’s so unlike “Closer To Fine”. I don’t have a clue what it’s about, but still I might have to cover it one day.
The Preachers – “Girlhood”
This chick has attitude! Fuck yeah! I love this energy! “You all right…you’ve been in there a while”! The rest of the record is awesome too.
Protomartyr – “My Children”
This is cool like Swell Maps or Mission of Burma were cool. Avant, post punk, art school rock, which has always been a favourite. I love the way he’s got that Paul Weller bark at times! Reminds of Gang of Four a little too, so moody! Makes you wanna get on the dance floor and start pogo-ing! Just a random and rare find.