- 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.
- Record Label: Nonesuch
- Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
- More Details and Credits »
Oct 6, 2010After 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… Expand
Oct 14, 2010Never 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
Oct 5, 2010Considering 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
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