Lonely Avenue - Nick Hornby
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: Singer-songwriter Ben Folds and English novelist Nick Hornby collaborate to create an album featuring the piano compositions and musical arrangements of Folds and the words of Hornby.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Lonely Avenue definitively exfoliates its ersatz-'70s, one-off joint-effort stance; more than anything, it's proof that pop can push back against middle-class maturity woes with both rhetorical and diatonic thickness.
  2. It adds up to Folds' finest record yet, and while nobody would dare suggest that Nick Hornby would give up his day job, a sequel to this fascinating collaboration would be more than welcome.
  3. This is an affecting and intelligent record: neither Folds nor Hornby should be shy about suggesting a sequel.
  4. Lonely Avenue has to be considered a big success for both artists.
  5. Oct 26, 2010
    While Lonely Avenue isn't a crowning glory for either, it is yet another inspired work to add to their collection. [Fall 2010, p.67]
  6. 60
    Intelligent, funny, heartbreaking atl-rock, Hornby lyrics music and vocals by Folds. [Oct. 2010, p. 92]
  7. Formal knowledge works against them as they go from unfunny Randy Newman ("Levi Johnston's Blues") to too-cute Barry Manilow ("Belinda") to overdone Elvis Costello ("Password," about breaking into a girlfriend's e-mail).

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Oct 6, 2010
    After a mild disappointment from Ben Fold's last record, Way to Normal, I was hoping for a redemptive record. After hearing the news that Nick Hornby (who I had never previously heard of) was writing the lyrics, my skepticism was excited. I figured that this record would be either a soaring success or an abject failure. Well, I was wrong--this is a good record with some fantastic tunes on it, but there are some definite misses.

    I'll get to the point: I'm digging the heartbreaking lyrics, clean, lush production, and hummable tunes on great cuts like "Claire's Ninth," "From Above," and "Doc Pomus." What I'm not digging are the luxurious, indulgent tunes like "Levi Johnston's Blues" and "Password," which are the two worst tunes on the album. They are not up to the standard that I would hold Ben Folds to. "Belinda," the other giant song on this album, rings well and contains a catchy melody that manages to emulate a hit song-in-a-song, a clever device that is used for considerable emotional punch.

    I happen to disagree with some of the meaner reviews that claim that Folds' music is little more than sugary, sympathetic generic '70s knockoff pop. The arrangements are dynamic, sweeping, and grand (except on "Practical Amanda," that is). Folds is perhaps one of the top ten melodists in pop, and his melodies are carried well by his competent tenor.

    Overall, this album is a well-produced foray that oozes musicianship. I would certainly recommend it to Folds fans, and any well-read music lover that still loves catchy melodies and complex instrumentation.

    Hits: Working Day, Doc Pomus, Your Dogs, Claire's Ninth, From Above
    Misses: Levi Johnston's Blues, Password, Practical Amanda
  2. Oct 14, 2010
    Never mind the often hilarious, sometimes touching lyrics by Hornby. This is the best Folds has sounded since 2001's wonderful solo effort, "Rockin' the Suburbs." It's as if having someone else write the words re-awakened Folds' musical muse. I really hope they work together again. Expand
  3. Aug 15, 2012
    I believe this album has great vocals and random funny lyrics. I would suggest listening to it. Nick Hornby and Ben Folds are quite the team although some would like to differ I would just get your own opinion of the album. Most of the songs have a very good tune. Expand
  4. BKM
    Oct 5, 2010
    Considering the talent involved with this album, the result should have been more than just a merely "ok" record. "Folds' melodies are decent, but not spectacular and Hornby's lyrics are no way near as clever as he thinks they are. Songs like "Levi Johnson's Blues" and "Password" come across as just plain silly. Expand