Total Pageviews

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ben Folds

I just got Ben Folds 2006 CD "supersunnyspeedgraphic, the lp", and it is the best CD I've listened to for the first time in a long time. Ben leads his band in vocals and on the piano, an uncommon combo these days. But what really sets him apart is the lyrics to his songs. And supersunnyspeedgraphic has some serious lyrics, as well as driving tunes.

I should probably warn you that the language on this one is pretty harsh. Ben never seemed to mind sprinkling in an occasional s**t or the "f" word, but this CD has tracks on which they have been applied with a shovel. His cover of Dr. Dre's "B*****s ain't S***" is everything you would expect from the pen of a "gangsta" rapper, only performed with a piano combo in a musical style that sounds more like a well constructed ballad. To a non-English speaker, it

But even when he is not covering professional swearing artists, he can get pretty blunt. "All U Can Eat" is portrait of a man talking to his son about what's wrong with modern consumerist America. The lyrics are clever and catchy, with the "F" word featured prominently in the chorus.

"God made us number one 'cause he loves us the best
but he should go bless someone else for a while and give us a rest."

And then on the positive side (depending on your view of "cool"), is "There's Always Someone Cooler than You":

"Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall,
but there's always someone cooler than you.
Yeah, you're the s**t but you won't be it for long,
oh there's always someone cooler than you."

The chorus is catchy, but don't get caught singing it around your mom. I like the basic message that "cool" is so relative that if it's all you focus on, you automatically aren't.

The album itself is a compilation of songs originally released directly to iTunes on the internet. Ben writes in the liner notes that he really enjoyed working on such a direct create-to-fans process, without all the hassle of working through a record label. Of course, the album as released was polished a bit, though he admits that he isn't sure whether it's an actual improvement. It seems to me that this process has taken him back to his earlier Ben Folds Five days. "Super..." isn't as catchy as his earlier "Whatever and Ever Amen", but it does seem to be closer to that creative vein than 2005's "Songs for Silverman".

If this at all intrigues you, follow the links to (just click on the album titles here in my review) and they will give you a chance to listen to clips from the albums.

No comments:

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.