When I first heard that Brendan Benson was coming out with a new album only one year after his last release, I was a bit worried that the songwriting was going to feel rushed. When I saw the track list, however, it all made sense. Over half of these songs have existed on the internet (and my iPod) in demo form for quite some time, dating as far back as 2006 (Swallow You Whole was uploaded to Benson's Myspace page under the name "untitled" back then). You Were Right is mostly a collection of reworked and re-recorded Benson songs that didn't "make the cut" over the course of his career. I initially found this concept to be a turnoff, but it actually ends up being an extremely varied and fun listening experience. Unless you're a hardcore Brendan Benson fan, you'll never know that all these songs aren't technically brand-new, so this is more of an interesting fact than a bad thing.
The songs themselves are very much a mixed bag. From the country-glazed "Diamond" to the humorous "She's Trying to Poison Me," you'll continue to find new sounds around every corner. Some true highlights exist here, with "I'll Never Tell" being the stand out rocker of the bunch. "Oh My Love" and "Swimming" are BB at the top of his lyrical and melodic game, reminding us of a time when song craft was more important than image in the music industry.
You Were Right is a welcome addition to Benson's already impressive catalog, even if it isn't his finest record to date. While some songs are better than others, there are no "low" points here, and the "highs" are as good as Benson has ever been.
With this collection of songs out, Benson most likely has cleaned out his songwriting closet. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next with the fresh white canvas that sits before him.