Benji - Sun Kil Moon
Benji Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth full-length release for Mark Kozelek as Sun Kil Moon includes contributions from Owen Ashworth, Will Oldham, Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, and Jen Wood.
  • Record Label: Caldo Verde Records
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 100
    The sparse musical arrangements and haunting production only serve to heighten the album’s intimacy and ultimately render it a masterpiece of reflection and introspection, destined to be played on repeat in scores of late-night, tired, and lonely rooms.
  2. Feb 3, 2014
    92
    Benji sounds more like Kozelek relating events instead of crafting them, which makes the continuity and reflexivity of the record feel both uncanny and the work of protracted genius.
  3. Feb 20, 2014
    90
    Benji, Mark Kozelek’s sixth album as Sun Kil Moon, is as abrasive as Pharmakon, as hauntingly emotive as Dean Blunt, and as disorienting as Oneohtrix Point Never.
  4. Feb 7, 2014
    80
    Benji is the sound of an artist giving his heart to his fans and saying, “Do with it what you will.” That kind of vulnerability is a rare quality in the music business and as such, should be revered.
  5. Apr 2, 2014
    80
    Kozelek replicates the rhythm of our lives, the tricks of memory, and the portents we later find in seemingly banal moments.
  6. Feb 14, 2014
    80
    Kozelek is a songwriter operating with audacity and confidence, composing wry and forthright confessionals that investigate areas of everyday darkness and despair too rarely explored in popular song.
  7. Feb 3, 2014
    55
    Overall, your enjoyment of this album will depend on your patience and appreciation for Kozelek's idiosyncrasies. Sometimes he pulls it off wonderfully, and other times listeners might wish he'd left a little more to the imagination.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Feb 11, 2014
    10
    This album puts a stamp on Kozelek's career. I didn't expect that his role as the bass player in the fictional band Stillwater in the 1999 movie "Almost Famous" (which I copied onto cassette tape back then) would not be the highlight of his career. Mark Kozelek sings (and plays acoustic guitar) about many of the things we all go through in life. I was especially intent on listening to the song "I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love" because my loving mother died only 6 weeks ago. The rest of the album, as well as that song, practically outlines (intentionally or not) through the soul's sojourn in the material world. Everyone - except maybe a saint - can relate to these true stories in song. They are beautiful songs even when the lyrics turn ugly, overtly sensual or speak of death. Birth, death, disease and old age are the things all of us souls go through in the material world (as one hears about in most George Harrison songs). While listening to these songs, I reflect on what my own life has been like, find parallels, and ironically, they make me think about how to make my life better. Finally, I love the melodies and denseness of this album and how the lone saxophone starts in towards the end of the album as if bringing all of his experiences and emotions into one final symphony. Spellbinding! Expand
  2. Feb 23, 2014
    10
    Benji is a really, dark, moody, sad and cold album. But it is beautifully crafted. The singer-songwriter still shows his ability to write a beautiful story from the dark alley he records in.

    Must Hear Tracks:
    Carissa
    Truck Driver
    Dogs
    I Watched the Film The Song Remains the Same
    Ben's My Friend

    Don't Hear Tracks:
    Jim Wise
    Expand
  3. Jun 25, 2014
    10
    No time to discuss:
    I had never heard of Sun Kil Moon until the critical acclaim of this album started pouring in. I still haven't listened
    to the other albums, laughing at how meta this album is.

    Favourite Tracks: Most of 'em

    Least Favourite Track: Dogs

    Overall score: 88-92/100
    Expand
  4. Apr 5, 2014
    9
    This is some of the most singularly candid, intensely roller-coaster-of-emotion poetry ever committed to record. The stripped down minimalism of the music leaves space for you to fully take in Kozelek's lyrics. And still, his voice is sometimes wonderful and the music, when it does come in is certainly lovely enough. Few records immediately promise that you will be listening to them forever. This one does. Expand
  5. May 7, 2014
    9
    the true brilliance of this album is the way lyrics are presented. you might think it's a bunch of sad songs about deaths and murders and tragedies, but it actually is about family and how you deal with mortality. Expand
  6. Feb 12, 2014
    8
    This is the first of Mark Kozelek's albums for me to hear, so I didn't know what to expect at first. But i ended up liking what i heard. The music is mostly minimal, giving room for the lyrics to shine. They are truly beautiful, as well as heartbreaking.

    On the other hand, i wish the album was more like the closing track (Ben's My Friend). That's my favorite track of them all. Great lyrics, accompanied by some of the most terrific music i heard in quite some time. It somewhat reminded me of Kaputt, the 2011 album by Destroyer.

    Other tracks i liked: Carissa, I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love, and Jim Wise.

    Overall, a very satisfying album, and i'm looking forward to checking out his previous work.
    Expand
  7. Feb 28, 2014
    0
    I now have a base line for the worst album I have ever heard ... and it's name is Benji by Sun Kil Moon.

    The guitar in each song is the
    same 3 boring, rambling finger picked chords for upwards of 8 minutes. The vocal is the least melodic single note monotone cringeworthy vocal line. The lyrics are the most self indulgent exploration into death I've ever heard. There is one song about how he will be sad if his mum dies and no one is allowed to talk **** about her, another song about how he loves his dad, another song about a couple of mass murders but he somehow makes it about him, a song about his pets
    Dying , an 8 minute song about his 2nd cousin dying - how sad he was even though he admits in the song he has only seen her once in 30 years ... And he didn't talk to her then ... He makes her death about him.
    Expand

See all 19 User Reviews