Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Aug 14, 2014
    70
    There's artifice in Booker's make-up but the troubled, strutting loner, serving sizzling sides of electrified psyched-swamp blues, is a role he inhabits with conviction and aplomb. [Sep 2014, p.69]
  2. Aug 28, 2014
    80
    While Booker plays with a certain fury on this self-titled debut, he sings with a leisurely cool. [Sep 2014, p.105]
  3. Aug 20, 2014
    80
    Booker's unique sound is a taste worth acquiring. [Sep 2014, p.91]
  4. Aug 19, 2014
    70
    A New Orleans-based, Jack White-endorsed 25-yearold with an open sore of a voice and a love of distorted boogie-blues shredding, Booker is grafting new shoots into roots music.
  5. 80
    His debut lives and breathes the Deep South, from the Chuck Berry references (most effective on opener 'Violent Shiver') to the slower, more hushed tones of 'I Thought I Heard You Screaming', which sees Booker take his vocal cues straight from Bobbie Gentry's late-’60s peak.
  6. Aug 18, 2014
    80
    There is pain, frustration, beauty and love whistling away in every crevice of this album.
  7. Aug 14, 2014
    80
    Singing with a maturity beyond his years, he crafts hooks that pay homage to Robert Johnson, Sam Cooke and the shambolic punk he grew up listening to.
  8. Oct 30, 2014
    89
    Benjamin Booker might not know where he's going, but he's well on his way.
  9. Aug 19, 2014
    70
    An electrifying introduction to the future of the blues.
  10. Aug 14, 2014
    80
    Often doesn’t even sound like a record at all, and more like a live set.
  11. Aug 18, 2014
    60
    On close examination, his songcraft often stalls at the pupal (but promising) stage, but there is enough chutzpah here to steamroller such reservations.
  12. 60
    It’s tough and grimy but you have to wonder how many others are out there bashing out similarly trashy rock who haven’t gotten Booker’s breaks
  13. Aug 25, 2014
    80
    An absolute joy of a debut.
  14. Aug 19, 2014
    88
    The production will frustrate those who demand cleaner sounds, who like their vocals to rise above the rhythm section. Instead the singer's voice folds into the noise, just another grimy texture on an album that treats the blues not as a museum piece, but as a roadmap of one prodigal son's early life.
  15. 90
    It's a pleasure to report his studio debut catches the spark. [Dec 2014, p.103]
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 10, 2014
    9
    Refreshing is what comes to mind when listening to Booker's debut album. It makes me happy to listen to this album, because Benjamin BookerRefreshing is what comes to mind when listening to Booker's debut album. It makes me happy to listen to this album, because Benjamin Booker has so obviously put nothing but his utmost care and soul into this. The Blues are extremely strong here as well. Booker's vocals may be slightly polarizing, and the quality of the production, being very muddled may turn people away at the outset, but don't abandon this album, it's a pleasure to listen to.
    It's fast, and almost punk-ish at times, during the first 20 minutes. "Violent Shiver", the first track, and most popular has a brilliant and energizing riff, and Slow Coming is unusually slow compared to the rest of the first half of the album, but it's a haunting song, with the opening words being: "at the top of the hour/ today in my news/ a little girl is shot down/ while tying her shoes/ honestly I cannot be proud right now." Have You Seen My Son is a visceral, deeply personal number, about his parent's inability to cope with their son's decision to be a musician, and after this is where things start to slow down for good, with "Spoon Out My Eyeballs" and "I Thought I Heard You Screaming" being purely beautiful songs. This is a great album, through and through.
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