Source: #1 Hits From Another Planet reviewing the single “Rock and Roll Moves”
“I Love the ’80s (and so does Andrew Benon)
33-year-old songwriter Andrew Benon attributes his career choice to one particular evening as a youth, sitting in the backseat of his parent’s car in a Pizza Hut parking lot. Suffering from stomach problems, little Andrew Benon was in pain until Hall & Oates “Kiss On My List” started playing on the car radio. That’s when he realized that he wanted to be a rock star.
Many years later, Benon, a Minnesota native, has released his debut, a compact 7-song CD titled Rock and Roll Moves. Before pontificating on the actual music, let me just say that for a debut by an artist not known out of his own zip code, 7 songs is the PERFECT length. Bravo on that alone, Mr. Benon. Bravo.
The music on the CD is an homage to mid-80s FM pop radio. Benon’s vocals sound like Bowie’s from the “Let’s Dance”/”Blue Jean” period of Ziggy Stardust’s career while the music falls somewhere between the new wave Brit-pop synth keyboard sounds of Duran Duran and the booty-shaking funk of the almighty Purple One, Prince. In other words, this is the ideal soundtrack to an afternoon at the roller rink. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that members of Tapes N’ Tapes, Mike Doughty’s band, N.E.R.D. and Prince’s band lay down the smooth funk sound on the CD? Dig it my brothers and sisters, dig it in all of it’s 1985 glory.”
Think back to your childhood. Surely one moment stands out among the rest. For Andrew Benon, it was the night that found him sitting in the back of his parents’ car at a pizza joint. Young Andrew was in stomach distress; the world wasn’t right. And then Hall and Oates’ “Kiss on My List” came on the radio, and suddenly his path was crystal clear. His path was to make music.
One listen to Benon’s solo debut Rock and Roll Moves and you, too, will agree the ’80s are very much alive. Sure, Benon’s outgrown that child in the backseat, but music—making people move, making them feel, think, dance—has been foremost on his mind. You know how having kids changes things for people? For Benon, it was the truth—but perhaps not what you’d expect. “I wanted to be a dad who does something he’s passionate about,” he says, “who goes after his dreams.”
Those dreams include Rock and Roll Moves, a brand new seven-song CD co-produced by John Hermanson (The Hopefuls, Alva Star, Story Hill.) A throwback to the ’80s, sure, but so much more than that. In seven songs, Benon’s captured what it means to be human. Alone on a dance floor, looking for love (“Rock and Roll Moves”). Trapped in a family saga, yet yearning for escape (“Farmington”). Finding your inspiration and following your muse (“Secret Hideout”).
The 33-year-old Benon’s been in bands since college, but only recently acquiesced to the rules of songcraft. “I tried to become a student of songwriting,” he reveals. “I wanted to understand the structures and melodies that make up a great pop song. I didn’t set out to write an ’80s record. But when it came time to write my own songs, I guess a lot of those sensibilities crept in.”
Benon’s classically trained, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. With Rock and Roll Moves, he taps into the root of music: grooves that can make you move, lyrics that will make you feel. With guest musicians—including Tapes ‘n Tapes’ Erik Appelwick on bass, Eric Fawcett (N.E.R.D., Mike Doughty) on drums, and Kathy Jensen (Prince) on sax—Benon’s assembled a veritable who’s who in the Minneapolis music scene.
Edited by stewardofpop on 6 Apr 2007, 02:13
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