I’m not saying these are objectively bad things, but I had personally ceased to be moved or excited by them. I felt like I was going to the shows out of loyalty, not enjoyment. And frankly, I don’t connect with his new records the way I did the old ones. Again, this is a personal thing. For me, Benji is one of his lesser albums, and I’m puzzled when I hear other critics pretty much every other critic call it his best. But I’ve been enormously heartened and oddly relieved by that reaction, too. Benji is a breakthrough for Kozelek — a universally celebrated and beloved album-of-the-year contender — and at age 47, it’s been a long time coming. It has made me a little sad to think that Benji will probably be the album on which his legacy rests it should be Ocean Beach, dammit! It should be ‘Rollercoaster’!, but that’s nothing compared to the happiness I feel knowing that his music is being discovered, and discussed, and loved, and that he is finally making some money.
Now, though, I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t altering his legacy even further.
Seems about right to me. I wanted to like Benji, and there are a few nice moments there, but the largely biographical, sort of spoken/mumbled approach of both this record and Among the Leaves before it, feel levels below Koz’ best work. And there’s no doubt he’s been in full-on asshole mode for some time.