Brendan Benson’s What Kind Of World is a classic sounding release for a modern time. The catchy disc has a retro flare to it via Benson’s vocal style as well as the chord progressions used in many of the songs. Benson goes from a loud, classic rock like bouncy song, directly into a piano ballad at the start of What Kind Of World. Despite the different directions that the disc goes in, everything seems to fit together perfectly like pieces of a puzzle. Shortly after the piano heavy ballad “Bad For Me” ends, Benson switches gears to lighten the mood with a fun, swinging cut titled “Happy Most Of The Time.” As far as choosing an outstanding number on the disc, “Pretty Baby,” which features vocals by Ashley Monroe, seemed like the only choice. With the marvelous play on dual harmonies along with dreary strings and heavy drums, “Pretty Baby” is the most unique sounding on the disc.
Although soft with relaxing, lounge styled keys, “No One Else But You” does have its big and brassy moments, which is completely different from “Come On.” The penultimate song is loud, catchy, fun and invokes a feeling of that carefree summer living. Again, Benson changes styles and ends What Kind Of World with a country vibe. “On The Fence” is a melancholy, twangtastic number that ends the disc on a downer—which is a perfect excuse to listen to the whole thing again.
In the end, Brendan Benson’s genre breaking release is different but entertaining. There’s generally something for everyone on the disc so long as your taste includes alternative with some pop thrown in.
In A Word: Smooth