Published Jan 01, 2006It's no secret that some of music's best songwriters go down in history as obscure cult favourites, but Motown's power pop prodigy, Brendan Benson, is hoping things will change his third time around. Having released his debut album the saccharine-soaked One Mississippi with Virgin back in 1996, Benson failed to ignite a spark. Given his pink slip, he didn't resurface for six years.
"I didn't have any prospect of putting out another record and I didn't really know if I wanted to," he admits. "I was feeling a little bit down on the music business and my place in it. But I built this studio and I was writing and recording the whole time, not knowing to what end."
His second record, Lapalco, revived his career and found him a new home with V2 Records, but again it failed to garner him much more than universal rave reviews. "It's sort of baffling and frustrating. You'd think that all of the good press would lead to more record sales, but it doesn't at all. The two seem to have nothing to do with each other."
Benson remains optimistic that The Alternative to Love, his third and strongest album, will earn him a wider audience. "This record has a better shot I think. I never had proper management and a record label that was 100 percent behind me until now; everything's kind of in alignment. We never really had a plan before."
If Plan A for stardom fails, he does have a Plan B: his finished collaborative album with friend Jack White. With massive hype surrounding the album's inevitable potential, Benson is hesitant to reveal too much about it. Laughing off the rumours that it's the next Nevermind, he guardedly confesses, "We don't know what it's called or anything like that. But the expectations are already a little too high."