Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. It's occasionally a bit too easy to play spot-the-influences with Harper's stuff... but his unabashed, unaffected nostalgia is more charming than irritating. [24 Mar 2006, p.69]
  2. 90
    With Both Sides Of The Gun, Harper proves he's prolific, diverse and relevant. [Apr 2006, p.86]
  3. The rap on Ben Harper's music up to this point has been that it's been too derivative. This could be the album where he finally transcends that. [23 Mar 2006, p.61]
  4. Perhaps the album's sides are the opposite of what they initially seem: even when gripping a weapon in his hand, Harper chooses to sing quiet, pacifistic songs of love, while he finds the courage truly to speak his mind only when staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. [Apr/May 2006, p.104]
  5. Harper more than compensates for this shortcoming [his voice], as he always has, with the brilliance of his songwriting, his lyrical content, and his musicianship.
  6. 60
    [CD1's] uproar casts most of CD2's over-delicate maunderings in a wan light. [Apr 2006, p.102]
  7. 60
    What Harper's over-educated style can't replicate is his heroes' blazing souls. [Apr 2006, p.114]
  8. If in Both Sides of the Gun Harper is trying to show his audience what a wide variety of music he can cover, he certainly accomplishes that. But if he's trying to create an album that is really about him, he doesn't quite deliver. Ben Harper is in there, don't worry, but he can be a little hard to find.
  9. His masturbatory approach to the stroking of his muse is very nearly obscene. [Apr 2006, p.114]
  10. To be sure, the quiet side is the more powerful.
  11. The whole deal threatens to take off occasionally, but in the end, it doesn't rise beyond meandering.
  12. 40
    There aren't many things worse than a pretentious hippie. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  13. While his ambition on Both Sides Of The Gun is just another of Harper's many likable qualities, ambition alone doesn't make the kind of statement that the album's scope and structure demands.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. MikeA
    Jul 31, 2006
    Harper has his downfalls. But critics are a waste of trees in the music business as music is purely opinion. I love Ben Harper because i love his different sounds, i love his heroes and the fact that his music isn't critcally accepted commercialised crap that fills the music industry theses days. Full Review »
  2. JoelL
    Jun 1, 2006
    Ben Harper's songwriting skills, (and i'm talking about musically) have impressed me once again. I, being a musician, (and a horrible lyric writer), find the music in this cd to be outstanding. Full Review »
  3. TomC
    May 28, 2006
    I've been a fan of Ben Harper for a long time now, but I have to admit that I'm getting a little bit bored with him. His music doesn't seem to be stretching or changing, and it's like he ran out of inspiration a few albums ago. I hope he reinvents himself somewhere along the line, or he's going to regress into being a fun live show, and nothing more. Full Review »