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The Alternative to Love

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The heightened production values on this power-pop maestro’s third album sacrifice a bit of Benson’s scrappy charm, but they also yield several sparkling should-be hits. Ambitious standouts like the hand-clap-happy title track and ”The Pledge,” with its Motown stomp, revel in sonic sophistication. If only there were similar Alternatives to the less ecstatic material that stunts the latter half of the disc.