Annie Dressner on Ben Kweller: Why I Love

Annie Dressner; one half of the David Ford/Annie Dressner duo; is currently out on tour. We welcome Annie to At The Barrier as she shares her love for the music and lyrics of Ben Kweller.

I saw Ben Kweller play in the Student Centre at Rutgers University back in 2002.  I was first drawn in by his artwork with his red toothbrush sticking out of his mouth – in part because the photo is cool and also because I walk around the house while brushing my teeth, so it felt relatable.  Weirdly, his concert was one of the first indie bands I had ever seen – and it was the first concert that I saw in college.

He was touring his album Sha Sha which is still one of my favorites to this day.  I love everything about that record and have also enjoyed his subsequent ones, especially belting Starz with my young children during lockdown and playing air instruments.  I like the way that his records are produced – they are sweet and fun – and I think his voice is great.  I like the specific details that he puts in his songs in conjunction with more common ones.  It’s like getting a little glimpse into his world and his sense of humor – but he makes the songs feel like experiences I could have had, too. 

Some of my favorite lyrics from Sha Sha include

“Sex reminds her of eating spaghetti…”

Wasted & Ready

“When I was a movie star
An asteroid had hit the earth
And prematurely ended my career
I thought out loud
But no one heard me saying:

“Nothing isn’t nothing
Nothing’s something that’s important to me
That’s right
And everyone’s a little nothing
That’s okay, that’s how it should be”

–  How It Should Be (Sha Sha)

The butterflies are passive aggressive
And put their problems on the shelf but they’re beautiful”

– In Other Words

There are many other lyrics that I love from this record and his other songs – but these are some that immediately came to mind.

I never really thought of Ben Kweller being an influence, but I have listened to his records on repeat for very many years, so he must be one!  I tend to write in detail, and I’m not sure if that is a direct influence but it is a similarity – however, my songs have possibly more personal detail – whereas his could possibly be classed as ‘quirkier.’  I wouldn’t say our music would be compared.

Anyway, go listen to Sha Sha! It is really great!

You can check out and buy tickets for Annie Dressner’s tour, here. She will be playing in Manchester on 21st September and we will be there. Support comes from the brilliant Amelia Coburn. You can buy tickets for that show HERE.

Get a flavour of Annie’s sound here:

Annie Dressner: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Amelia Coburn: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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