Review Summary: Definitive proof that music, like all art, mirrors the broad expanse of human experience.
Often times, as a music critic who has a deep and abiding love for that blissful moment when the song you are listening to is exactly what you were seeking, I wonder if the process of reviewing and rating music isn't a giant crock of ***. Music, more so now than ever, has burgeoned into an artform so broad that to judge it all by the same scale is subjective at best; and hilariously asinine at worst.
Obviously there is
something worthwhile in reviewing and rating music, but the point stands. For example, trying to evaluate the two halves of music featured in Well, I Should Have
by the exact same metrics just feels altogether wrong in some fundamental way. One the one hand, you have someone clearly skilled and creative trying to please whatever audience happens upon this particular arrangement.
Add to that an actual jazz band, and the results are interesting to say the least. The opening track, to use a loose definition, really sets up the whole experience. In actuality, "Deal With the Devil" is the audio track of a skit where Jon Benjamin attempts to literally sell his soul to the devil in exchange for masterful piano-playing prowess, ostensibly in order to unveil a hidden, impressive skill to further fascinate fans in much the same way Hugh Laurie made us all develop an inferiority complex and overall reconsider our every life choice with his seemingly endless array of winsome and charming talents.
Suffice it to say that Jon Benjamin's skills lie more specifically in the thespian and comedic arts. However, that's not to say Well, I Should Have...
isn't immensely enjoyable and actually quite well-executed. For starters, while Jon Benjamin is undeniably a horrible pianist, he clearly does his best to correctly accompany his fellow musicians on the record. Although he is technically
just making piano-ey sounds while a band plays along, occasionally adding his own voice to the mix, Jon Benjamin truly is being a jazz pianist.
Just not a very good one. And yet, the results are decidedly enjoyable, and if anything, Benjamin's awful piano only adds to the fun. Polymath and savant Jon Benjamin is not, but damned if Well, I Should Have...
isn't a worthwhile listen in the end.
And maybe that's part of the real value here. In nearly-but-not-quite ruining a an album that would have been just fine with an even decent jazz pianist with his feeble but committed attempts, Benjamin and co. have crafted... an interesting piece of art.