Track-by-track review of Mitch Benn's CD
1. Imagine You Were Mine
A deceptively catchy ballad, sung from the point of view of the stalker. Not hugely original in terms of material, but very well executed.
2/3. Macbeth (My Name Is)
Rap is a godsend to comedians - it's so easy is it to send up and you don't even need to know how to sing. And although Eminem is particularly easy, as the number of 'comedic' versions of My Name Is testify, this is much better than most - melding the bloody plot of The Scottish Play to the Slim Shady rap. A smart and witty track, if a little reminiscent of those Reduced Shakespeare Company guys.
4. Baby I'm Sorry
Amusing love song parody, explaining how men's grosser habits are, in fact, heartfelt expressions of emotion. Wonder if anyone would buy this theory?
5. Five - One
Given curent events, the almost obligatory football track. However, it's a little dreary, lacking the anthemic hook or understated wit of Three Lions. A bit too literal a commentary on England's famous Munich victory.
6. Everybody's Elvis
Stylistically brilliant tribute to The King. Again, the humour in the lyrics isn't always brilliant, but you can forgive anything for such a great tune.
7. The Apathy Song
Accurate description of the modern malaise, with a funny - if predictable - pay off.
Tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Welsh town, amusing for parodying the style of US songs about cities rather than the lyrics themselves, which paint the usual picture of a dreary rain-drenched resort.
9. Dr Who Girl
Memorable only for the great line 'My love is bigger on the inside than the outside', this romantic-ish ballard doesn't otherwise stand out.
10. Christmas Single
Cynical festive tunes are ripe for ridicule. And this lively track is so accurately done it could easily muster as a yuletide chart-topper itself even if, again, the actual satire is fairly blunt.
11. Tabloid Journalists
Quite an obvious target, and while the core point behind this track, sung in moody foreboding tones, is a fair one, it doesn't really get very far.
12. My Girlfriend Is An Alien
Neat twist on the 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' philosophy, even if it doesn't realise its full potential. Another song with an annoyingly ear-catching hook.
13. Rock And Roll Hall Of Death
A toe-tapping tune playfully exploring our fascination with rock stars' often stupidly pointless deaths.
14. Sometimes Love
This earnest romantic ballard seems an awkward addition to the catalogue of raucous piss-take songs. Is it supposed to show the sensitive Benn behind the comic persona, I wonder?
15. Steal This Song
Musically uninteresting, but pleasantly self-mocking anthem for the Napster generation, with a neat pay-off line and the devastatingly accurate refrain: "Home taping isn't killing music. Music's dying of natural causes."
Generally, the tunes are better than the lyrics, which tend to be wryly amusing rather than devastatingly original.
Benn is also in his natural habitat when performing live, and a lot of the energy of a stage performance is lost in the sterile atmosphere of a recording studio.
Nonetheless, if you've enjoyed a Mitch Benn gig, this is probably the closest you could get to actually taking him home with you.
Posted: 13 Jul 2006