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Ben Harper - Burn to Shine Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 September 1999

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Burn to Shine
format: CD
label: Virgin Records
release year: 1999
performance: 8.5
sound 8.5
reviewed by: Brian Kahn

ImageAlthough released in 1999, Ben Harper’s album Burn to Shine is certainly worth a listen. This CD showcases his wide range as a performer and his eclectic talent. The album provides the listener with a wide variety of songs, including lighthearted jazz, ballads and some lively pop rock. Harper has developed a wide range of vocal talents over the years and puts them to use on this release. Despite Harper’s wide variety of styles, The Innocent Criminals have no problem keeping up and even pulling the album along with their instrumental work. This album, mixed by Eric Sarafin, also sounds great in addition to having a lot of great music.
The first single from the album, "Steal My Kisses," has become very popular in the Los Angeles area and is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. In addition to being the first single released from the album, "Steal My Kisses" provides the perfect example of an extremely interesting Harper juxtaposition. The lyrics to this track are about a man who cannot freely obtain kisses from the woman he desires, but instead of a blues-type rhythm, Harper sets the lyrics to an up-tempo tropical beat, creating a positive mood without detracting from the words. The other tracks demonstrate the contrasting styles that Harper utilizes. Despite the contrasts, the songs always seem as though they belong on the same album together. "Steal My Kisses" is preceded by "Suzie Blue," which features the Real Time Jazz Band playing a ‘20s jazz arrangement. Hard-rocking tunes such as "Burn to Shine" and "Forgiven" are interspersed with mellow introspective tracks such as "Alone" and "The Woman in You." The album satisfies the urge to rock as well as providing some relaxed, understated tracks to help the listener chill out. All in all, Burn to Shine provides a good listen, taking a journey through all sorts of musical landscapes, all of them shining brightly.

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