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Burn To Shine Import

130 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 21, 1999
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Burn To Shine + Fight for Your Mind (Vinyl Double LP) + Diamonds On The Inside
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Harper's soulful musical mix continues to defy genre categorization and his growth as an artist continues to amaze. Burn to Shine is his most ambitious work to date, tapping a multitude of styles and moods and revolving as usual around his incredibly expressive vocals and searing guitar work

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Ben Harper's musical eclecticism has been well established, but what often goes unnoticed is that few musicians possess such an expansive emotional range. And those complex, unsettled emotions never seem to come one at a time; instead, they are layers to be peeled and reassembled. When the mood is ominous, you still sense an urgent hopefulness around the bend, and even on a jaunty Dixieland number like "Suzie Blue," with its playful trombone and clarinet, you can see the clouds on the horizon. The tension may not always be overt, but it's never lower than just below the surface. Angry, aggressive metal rants; bruising, bombastic, operatic rockers; lighthearted Caribbean grooves; strutting Southern boogie; deep country soul; and delicate acoustic folk play out like scenes within a Byzantine film. Harper's soulful moans, agonized groans, and earth-shaking whispers narrate this battle between shadows and light, and his sonic war zone is as dynamic, detailed, and diverse as it's ever been. As weighty as but more personal than its three predecessors, Burn to Shine has the sensation of grandeur that seems to accompany all of Harper's work, but it's more than a delusion. --Marc Greilsamer


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 21, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B00001IVI6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,446 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jake Sand on November 30, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I am writing this review simply because, after that last one (the guy who gave it 3 stars) there are somethings that need to be said. This is a great album. The songwriting is great. The musical performance is spectacular. Yes, this album is more "studioized" and not as "rootsy". Throughout the album he goes out on a limb almost every song. I respect an artist whose willing to try new things and make the music that's in their head and their heart. Anyone can write a follow up album that's just like their last one, and while it'll would be great, I respect an artist who's willing to take a chance. Bands who put out album after album of the exact same sound may be great, but they are stagnant. Ben Harper's music is progressing and maturing. And yes, this album isn't as political. The songs are much more personal. But the songs are still honest and heartfelt. Should Ben write political songs just because people expect it? That would be selling out. He's writing from his soul, and if it's more personal that political this album, the that's fine with me. All in all, this is as great an album as his first three. If you want to agree or argue with me, than write me and we'll duke it out. Thanks for reading.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jason Scott on January 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The fact that Ben Harper remains largely unknown while lesser talents like Lenny Kravitz, Counting Crows and Live are so successful is one of those minor crimes against creativity and true musical expression. Don't get me wrong, I like those other guys, but Harper easily outshines them all. His songwriting chops are strong: "Two Hands of a Prayer," "Burn to Shine," "Suzie Blue" and "Less" all prove this. Production is impeccable, with each song delivering a unique sound to mirror it's emotional intensity - the delicate strings in "Beloved One," the chants and gongs subtly layering "Two Hands," the old-time fun of "Suzie," the raucous "Alone" and the triumphant "Forgiven."
Hopefully, in an alternative universe, Ben Harper is a major rock god while Kravitz, Duritz, Dave Matthews et al are relegated to being considered barely fair imitations. Just because you're not hearing this guy's music on car and shoe commercials means that in this world, it's hard to hear him on the radio. Do yourself a favor and take a listen.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Bamford on December 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD
It's always great when a band you like releases a new CD not only because of the album, but because of the singles. This single features the great title track of Ben's new record Burn to shine, which sounds like eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" It has a great old skool rock flavor. The first B-Side is Waiting on an Angel recorded live at a sold out show at Royal Albert Hall. Like any acoustic performance by Harper this song is performed with an unparalled level of emotion you can only hear at one of Ben Harper's shows. The second b-side appeared on some singles off of Fight For your Mind. It's a gospel tune called If I could hear my mama pray again. It is acapella with a small choir and Ben just singing his heart out. It's really a great song that is seldom performed live. If you can afford to drop the 12 bucks or whatever this is a great CD for any Harper fan.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris deCastro on October 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Ben and the boys show off their amazing diversity on this album: "Burn to Shine" contains everything from Hendrix-y R&B (The Woman In You, very Little Wing-esque), to hard rock (Forgiven), to Dixieland Jazz (Suzie Blue), to human-beatbox-driven feelgood music (Steal My Kisses), to the Rolling Stones incarnate (Burn to Shine), to a pure ballad (Show Me a Little Shame), to beautiful soulfelt folk (In the Lord's Arms). And while some albums with this kind of diversity tend to be disjointed as a result, the pervasive sense of Ben's soulfelt, passionate singing links one song to the next like no other force could; he sings with the kind of conviction that would be expected from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech.
Instrumentally, the album is quite solid, too. Ben's guitar work shows him to be of considerable talent, particularly his slide guitar work. The Innocent Criminals do a great job here creating various grooves to back Ben up with, all appropriate for the songs they're present in.
If you've never listened to a Ben Harper album before, "Burn to Shine" would be a great place to start.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Surface to Air Missle VINE VOICE on October 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Most of us in our mid-20's went through that Ben Harper phase around 2000 when he started touring campuses around the nation and the buzz built. Some of his other albums have come and gone but Burn To Shine is his masterpiece that will forever endure. It's his most even album and I still listen to it semi-regularly 5 years later.

Harper's music is guitar driven poetry. It's mellow with the occasional upbeat tempo thrown in to liven things up. There are many immitators out there but I think what separates Ben from the rest is the raw emotion he emits not just from his angelic voice, but also from his ingenious guitar. At times subtle, at times barraging, he wears his heart on his sleeve through every song.

The great thing about this album is that it can stand alone with a glass of wine or can be great in a background setting. It's not overpowering (except perhaps the best song - Please Bleed) and I often read or do work with this on in the background.

Bottom Line: Great for all music lovers. Appropriate for all ages. For the younger crowd looking for some music they might have missed out on....this is disc you must have for your collection.
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