12 Days of Music: A Review of Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Call It What It Is

Artist: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Album: Call It What It Is – Concord/Stax Records 2016

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I love how Ben Harper write songs which epitomize so much that is going today. This album dances around a multitude of genres. He figures a way to balance soul with rebellious attitude which harkens back to the days of Stax Records and powerful songwriting. The songs are full of depth, and go from the joys of life to unapologetically challenging the establishment with vivid descriptions of the actions we do not want to talk about.

I enjoy the songs which do not just follow what is normal. Music is supposed to be the message which others just can’t vocalize. With this album, life is defined if every song, every phrase, every simple beat. It’s harder to find artists who challenge the establishment yet find a way to respond with grace. It is one the best albums because it displays why music is so vital, especially during the times of searching for hope.

My favorite track is “Deeper and Deeper.” With a chorus, a simple chordal progression, and the haunting single piano note playing in the background. The chorus hauntingly enters, and veers into a whirlwind of life analogies. Described in a way only Ben Harper can do. Sorrow? But hope layered upon a depth of emotion throughout the journey of the song. These are songs which I always find a calmness in and reminds me a little bit of my Texas home.