Benjamin Dean Wilson fancies himself quite the one-man show. He comes to us with "The Smartest Person in the Room" which features him on vocals and every other instrument. Hell, he even recorded and produced it himself. Maybe HE IS the smartest person in the room!
According to his one sheet, he's a singer-songwriter type with influences ranging from Randy Newman to Leonard Cohen. As you guys know, I'm a sucker for a good singer-songwriter type.
Will Benjamin Dean Wilson deliver the good? There's only one way to find out.
Watch the music video for "The Smartest Person in the Room" on Youtube here:
The album's title track "The Smartest Person in the Room" starts us off and it's got the Randy Newman influence written all over it. It's a strong track but it's not anything you haven't heard before. "Won't Say It Again" is a plodding storytelling tune that has just enough clever moments lyrically to keep it from stalling out. "A Difficult Decision For Ronny Giovonni" continues the theme of spinning a yarn that thinks it's funnier than it actually is. These songs aren't bad, but the tunes themselves aren't innovative enough for the lyrics to be only ok. Track four is "Ridgemore Hotel" and it's the first song that checks all the boxes. The melody line is strong enough on this one and it makes the absurd observational lyrics more palpable. "Mr. Paranoid, Lizzy, and Her Family" is a little funkier and it really separates it from the pack. This is my favorite song on the album. The album ends on a strong note with the delightfully simple "Vitamin Supplements". The second half of the record is a lot stronger than the first half in my opinion.
Benjamin Dean Wilson is smart, that's for sure. I think there are Randy Newman fans that will adore this, but it might be a little too nuanced for the average listener. For me, it was somewhere in the middle. I thought it was pretty good.