The full range of Ben Harper's influences would not come to bear until later albums, but his debut, Welcome to the Cruel World, lays a strong foundation. "Like a King" and "Take That Attitude to Your Grave" burn with a political conviction rarely heard during the 1990s. "Forever" has a tenderness which demonstrates Harper's emotional range. Lackluster hippie jams that cultivated his early following may have served a purpose but feel fluffy by comparison when compared to the meatier tracks. Ben closes the album with a song that frequently closes his concerts, "I'll Rise." This song, built around Maya Angelou's 1979 poem "And Still I Rise," reminds one of art's ability to pierce through society, self, and the soul.
|Label:||Virgin Records Us|
Performance CreditsBen Harper Primary Artist,Vocals,Multi Instruments
John Taylor Background Vocals
Kevin Williams Background Vocals
Suzie Katayama Cello
Ken McDaniel Background Vocals
Clyde Allen Background Vocals
Clarence Butler Background Vocals
Rock Deadrick Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Richard Cook uillean pipes
John McKnight Bass,Accordion
Clabe Hangan Background Vocals
Jelani Jones Background Vocals
Technical CreditsBen Harper Composer,Producer
J.P. Plunier Producer,Art Direction
Tom Freund Contributor
Mikal Reid Engineer
Tom Dolan Art Direction
Ben Elder Advisor
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Every CD Ben Harper has is one of a kind and there isn't one song that i have not liked. This is his first CD, with amazing lyrics and beautiful performance on the accustic. It's too bad Ben Harper takes his sweet time to come out with new albums, I guess you jsut can't rush poetry from the soul.
By no means am I going to say that his newer albums aren't good. But this CD defines Ben Harper in my eyes. He gave newcomers to his music something to think about, with his lyrics that relate to childhood, love, hate, prejudice, and overall life in general. It is a songwriters job to express either themselves, their observations, or the ideas that they have. In my opinion, he went beyond himself to pull the words out, and that is a sign of a very talented artist. Ben may be talented with an instrument, but give this album a listen more for the overall composition and flow. Some of the songs are catchy and make you want to get up and move, and on the other hand, a few of them have you lost in thought. This is the album that got me into Ben Harper, and I would suggest giving it a good hard listen even if you only own his work with Relentless7.