Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Harper's new band makes a fabulous racket, and the singer himself sounds reenergized on the soulful likes of 'Lay There and Hate Me.'
  2. This is the record that finally matches the excitement Harper generates in a live setting and is not to be missed.
  3. Harper leaves a few arrows unstrung from his deep musical quiver here, but the ones he fires all seem to hit their mark.
  4. Ben Harper is that rare talent able to not only vacation in the worlds of gospel, soul, folk and even reggae, but meld them gracefully together on both album and stage. But sometimes you just want him to rock, like he did on 1995's "Ground on Down." And at long last, he's assembled a new band that seems dedicated to just that, and it's a beautiful thing.
  5. The result is a restless hybrid that never completely settles into the groove that has defined the singer and guitarist's best albums.
  6. The chops are there but not always the songs. Still, it’s a committed rock album and, generally, a fun one--excellent fuel for the summer festival dates Harper has booked.
  7. White Lies for Dark Times is a strong, rocking record that certainly pays homage to a time when rocking mattered more than record sales, and a time when some would say music was at its best.
  8. Harper achieves the illusive balance of willful positivism and skeptical sentimentality in low-lit anthem 'Up to You Now' and the fuzz guitar, jam-band crush of 'Shimmer & Shine.' His sharp turns of phrase still cut deepest when he's seething from the scorn of a woman.
  9. The lack of originality on White Lies for Dark Times is a major hindrance, but the execution of these stylistic pastiches by Harper and Relentless7 is so dead-on that it's easy to appreciate the record on its own modest terms.
  10. Mojo
    60
    The acoustic neo-folk ditties that made his name are deployed in the form of 'Faithfully Remain' and 'Skin Thin,' but the heavy side of Harper makes for a welcome detour. [Jun 2009, p.102]
  11. Q Magazine
    60
    This is a record so drenched in Vietnam War-era blues rock you can all but smell the patchouli and napalm, and though 'Why Must You Always Dress In Black' may be his most shameless Hendrix-rip-off to date, it is nevertheless a convincing one. [Jun 2009, p.124]
  12. The noise is welcome, but Harper can be a graceless vocalist, and his songs about crumbling relationships strain for significance amid pronouncements like "I'm serenaded by a chorus of a thousand burning cigarettes."
  13. 50
    The fact that the album's best moments are in the details--a fiery lick, a wailing vocal ad-lib--speaks to the singer-guitarist's recurring problems: secondhand song structures and little to say beyond self-helpy reiterations of lyrical beatitudes.
  14. White Lies For Dark Times succeeds when cool and carefree; when the album ups the energy, however, it’s channeled through the formulaic licks found at on any average summer-festival circuit, suggesting Lifeline’s high standards were an anomaly.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. JamesM
    May 16, 2009
    10
    When few rock bands are able to inspire with hard, edgy, and thoughtful music, Ben Harper comes to the rescue. This is a throwback to the When few rock bands are able to inspire with hard, edgy, and thoughtful music, Ben Harper comes to the rescue. This is a throwback to the late 60's energy of Zeppelin and Cream. Those who find fault with this album take themselves way too seriously. These are great musicians giving us a gift of unfiltered, raw rock 'n roll. Enjoy this gem for what it is. Full Review »
  2. MicahH
    May 6, 2009
    10
    Great sound. Rock and roll at it's best. Different sound, but same ol Ben Harper. Gotta love it!
  3. DestroyerC
    May 5, 2009
    10
    Best studio album he has ever put out. The best rock album in a long time. The critics are way off on this, no way it should get anything below a 70.