Split onto two discs, these 18 songs could have fit on one. It's a testament to Harper's aesthetic sensibilities that it is so configured, thereby both avoiding the scourge of the overly long album and dividing the raw, pummeling rockers from the ballads. With his band, the Innocent Criminals, he tears into such songs as "Get It While You Like It" and "Engraved Invitation" with Rolling Stones Exile-era verve. Their finely honed interplay allows the disc-closing "Serve Your Soul" to truly soar. The quieter disc makes its intentions clear from the outset, as a lightly fingerpicked guitar is enveloped by a string section. Within the two discs' separate identities there is variety and dramatic contrast, each one functioning as its own statement. Harper continues to embrace a variety of influences and genres. Lyrically his songs stretch from matters political to introspective emotions. --David Greenberger
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Member CD Reviews
(CTA4him) from ANDERSON, SC
Reviewed on 11/12/2014...
This is a 2 cd collection. 1st side is acoustic and the 2nd disc a mix of rock, hard rock, funk & gospel. Most of the instruments are Ben (1st time he's done this). The Innocent Criminals show up on a couple of cuts and the Renlentless 7 make their debut on "serve your soul". Great effort and I believe it's his highest chart ranking.
Reviewed on 11/25/2008...
BenHarper's older albums Fight For Your Mind, The Will To Live & Diamonds On The Inside are consistent & absolutely killer! I immediately noticed that here on Both Sides, he spread 64 minutes of music over 2 CDs!!! when y'all know that 70+ min can fit on 1 CD. Whats up with that? A nostalgic attempt to revive the archaic task of flipping the LP?
Disc 1 is chocked full of contemplative (slow) songs and kind of disappointing. Then again, WOWWWW is Disc 2 ever the EXACT OPPOSITE! He puts down the hammer for some awesome jams that really impressed me and made the whole package worthwhile (hint: put on Disc 1 when there's mellow folks in the room, the switch it to Disc 2 after they leave to kick the party INTO HIGH GEAR.) WAIT A MINUTE... I'm sitting here listening to Live From Mars and damm if BenHarp didn't do the same exact thing with that 2-CD live package, only on that one, Disc 1 is killer and Disc 2 lags. Like a deja vu, ya know?
My final decision is.... 5 Stars here on Both Sides and 5 Stars on Live From Mars too. He's a talented musician through and through
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
(tompee) from BURBANK, CA
Reviewed on 5/7/2007...
don't believe the negative reviews, this is an AWESOME album.
Excellent, with a few exceptions
Christian D. Piatt | Pueblo, CO (USA) | 05/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who has spent any time with Ben's music knows that he has the tendency to wax strange now and again, and "Both Sides of the Gun" is no exception.
Not quite as masterful as his "Fight for Your Mind" days, "Both Sides" certainly is ambitious and rich in melodic texture. The mellower second disc does tend to lose unique identity from one song to another, making a more appealing background set rather than a compelling can't-turn-it-off ride from beginning to end.
The first disc, with the single "Better Way" and many other powerful, catchy tunes, is definitely the most distinctive half of this collection. Harper lays down his thick, soulful grooves in a number of tunes, and his arrangements are fresh, yet still trademark Ben Harper.
There are a few jarring moments, such as the shouting bit in "Better Way" and the fairly obnoxious "Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating," but they hardly outweigh the artistry and feel of the rest of the double disc. Not the best place for Ben Harper newbies to start, but a definite must-buy for any long-time fans."
No one is more consistent than Harper
H Busby | Athens, GA United States | 07/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there is any other artist that continues time and time again to produce quality CDs on the level of Ben Harper, please let me know. Consistently, he brings eclectic and genre transcending albums that stand alone in music today. His lyrics never fail to reach a depth that challenges the listener to go back and listen for the 50th time in order to squezze yet another drop of his insight. Simply put, Ben Harper is the prophet of our age."