Edge

CD REVIEW BARING HIS SOUL ALONGSIDE HIS PIANO, BEN JELEN STANDS OUT FROM THE REST

Writer, producer, and performer- newcomer to the mainstream music industry, Ben Jelen (pronounced Yellin) is a package deal, providing sweet sounds and intriguing lyrics. His CD titled Give it All Away, set to debut April 13, is a smooth mix of personally insightful songs, moving ballads and head bobbing beats. Evidently, like most male soloists, Ben is tailored to target the female crowd, and will probably send most typical men running away screaming about how they don’t like emotional topics that have anything to do with women. (Interesting how the opposite sex seems to be a man’s most loved and hated subject.) Anyways, the songster croons alongside an assortment of rather unexpected instruments, making many remarkably well-mixed songs that just grab onto the heart. While all the tracks begin with piano notes, songs such as, “She’ll Hear You” and “Every Step” have short and sweet resonance specific to the banjo and string instruments. The title track is bittersweet, with whisperings of “my world is swirling around…to feel the life, I’d give it all away,” Jelen talks of a special lady, but one only wonders what else Ben would give it all away for. Lacking the Broadway feel of singer Clay Aiken, the sexual healing provided by John Mayer a la “Your Body is a Wonderland,” and the remedies of Jason Mraz, Ben has a style of his own, singling him out from the rest of the lovelorn eye candy that comprise their own section in Virgin Megastore. Regardless of whether or not Ben’s single, “Come On” plays early in the morning on MTV or not, he is talented. And for now, Ben Jelen and his piano are here to “Stay.”

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.

April 6, 2004

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.