ARTIST: Ben Harper
TITLE: Welcome to the Cruel World
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Like a King, Whipping Boy
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’ll Rise
LINEUP: Ben Harper + session players.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jammy, folky album puts Harper on the map, somewhat.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ben Harper’s guitar work, songwriting, and voice are all in good form in his debut album. When he sings about social justice and racism, his words are strong and forceful.
His voice, and the way he plays and expresses himself is at conflict at times with his voice. Not to say what he’s singing isn’t powerful, it just seems like the mood isn’t as dark as it maybe should be. That’s probably more of a quibble than a criticism.
As he was finding his voice and his motif, not everything here hits the target. Some of his songs are scattered, and because of that don’t have the impact they could have. It’s still a good debut, though, and gave Harper momentum as he built his career.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This album was before he established his backing band, so session players were used. Also, this disappeared from Google Play but is on Spotify.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B: A good start for a alternative folk / blues favorite.