Prescription: BEN FOLDS! - I'm not sure how many of you folks have, like me, a set of your own seasonal music. In Boston, winter officially starts either when the leaves have fully abandoned the trees or you find you are accosted by Christmas music at every turn...whichever comes first. It's March and therefore almost Springtime and we are buried today under another fresh foot of snow today! Sigh. (Mother Nature has a really dark sense of humor!) Time to listen to some uplifting and transporting music. It's time for Ben Folds!
My Winter Mix has always included Ben Folds: For a dozen years now, the king of my winter albums has been Whatever and Ever Amen, by Ben Folds Five. Its a perfect blend of mellow and "in-your-face" piano rock. Let me state clearly that Piano Rock is not a genre that I am drawn to. However, this is one of my all-time top ten albums. Besides the fact that each song is noteworthy, even the arrangement of the songs on the record is perfect.
This one starts out Ben's foot on the gas with oddly named "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and ends with the powerful ballad "Evaporated". They bring you up and take you down with a variety of moods and modes. From the smooth, flowing, jazz-influenced "Selfless, Cold and Composed" to the raw-nerved "Song for the Dumped" to the simply brilliant "Kate". For more on this, check out this post on Forgotten Disc Fridays.
PICKING UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF: Ben Folds (playing minus the 'Five' these days) has newly broken into my consciousness with the September 08' release of Way to Normal. Intervening albums like The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Mesner and Rockin' the Suburbs are excellent as well, but Way to Normal really does something for me.
Top to bottom fantastic, Ben Folds takes once again shows his range. His duet with Regina Spektor is a light-hearted and quirky tune. Of course, we have a variety of breakup songs, such as the humorous "Bitch Went Nuts," with a prelude that is actually at the end of the previous track "Free Coffee". There is also the sad ballad "Cologne" about a couple's long-distance split and the bouncy breakup tune "Brainwascht" which serves as a warning about dating musicians:
"if you had to say it all with a pop song, couldn't you at least have written a good one"
An RSL Top Album of 2008, I highly recommend adding Ben Folds' Way to Normal album to your collection. (And now you also have an old favorite to pick up too!) In the meantime, check out his cover of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights".
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VIDEO!
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