Ben & Jason
/setanta; 2003/




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Well. Between Ben & Jason and me there's a bit of a twisted love affair. B&J's two first albums (Hello and Emoticons) stand as emotional landmarks in the rollercoaster of my life. I don't know what it is, really, that makes me like them. Maybe there's something in Ben Parker's voice my subconscious relates to.

This is B&J's fourth and final album (Hello - Goodbye, get it ?), coming two years after Ten Songs about You, which couldn't compare with their precious two first albums, and actually had one good song in it ("Let's Murder Vivaldi"). I was afraid that this final album would end up even worse that TSAY and well, i'm quite relieved to see that they're closing their career with a record that is reminiscent of the duo's best years. TSAY was over-produced and over-arranged. Goodbye is intimate and cosy, 9 songs and 36 minutes long. Despite a few misteps -"Hollywood (The Story of a Domestic Explosion)" sounds a bit too luxurious, Parker sounds really far from me on "Mr America"- Parker and Hazeley succeed in crafting those intimate winter songs that i used to love. Even if they don't top "You-Shaped Hole", most songs on the album are really impressive. They are delicately arranged from beginning to end, Hazeley being a patient and talented craftsman, dressing up Parker's bittersweet compositions with careful hands and fragile cloth.      

If you didn't like their two first albums, this won't change your mind; if this is the first time you hear of them, there are better places to start, but if you fell for Hello and Emoticons, then you'll find in Goodbye the same shy intimacy that made their music so touching in the first place. 

-Barbara H

/oct 15th 2003/