Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    There's nothing about Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee's performance on Life that will make you realize you're listening to Ben Folds Five. Still, a few songs are gems. [Oct 2012, p.84]
  2. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    Sadly, the album at large is plagued by many of the things which have seeped into Folds' sound over the last ten years: the seriousness, the restraint, and the descent into middle age.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    The good news is that one of the most consistently entertaining pop-rock bands of the 1990s is back together. The bad news is that the album they've released to mark their comeback isn't quite a classic.
  4. Dec 4, 2012
    50
    We still find this trio a little yawn-worthy. [No. 93, p.55]
  5. Sep 21, 2012
    50
    There's a pall of maturity over The Sound of the Life of the Mind that both unifies and wrecks it. It rejects, if only halfheartedly, the nerdy, masculine piss that once made the band such guilty fun.
  6. Nov 30, 2012
    45
    Way too easygoing and disappointingly light on rockers. [Oct/Nov 2012, p.128]
  7. Oct 23, 2012
    40
    In the end, it's all a bit too sensible. [Nov 2012, p.95]
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Sep 21, 2012
    10
    This is a great comeback album. Please excuse Pitchfork for, once again, not being able to get out of their own way. BFF really channel theirThis is a great comeback album. Please excuse Pitchfork for, once again, not being able to get out of their own way. BFF really channel their early material yet you can still hear the influence of Ben Folds' solo output as well. It's as good as expected and definitely worth your time. Check it out. Full Review »
  2. Jul 2, 2013
    2
    This isn't the Ben Folds Five I remember. This is some lukewarm rendition that doesn't know what it wants to do. Identity crisis time. Are weThis isn't the Ben Folds Five I remember. This is some lukewarm rendition that doesn't know what it wants to do. Identity crisis time. Are we grown up?, they ask themselves. Yeah so lets do ballads but without any melody. Are we self-observing-yet assured awkward hipsters still? Yeah but we aren't going to write anything witty, clever or lyrically smooth with the music.

    All these songs are bland and too long. And I mean all of them. Track 2 is okay but who the heck is Michael Praytor and why should we care?

    If this is supposed to be the sound of life in my mind, I want a new sound. Or life. Or mind. Or all of them please.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 20, 2013
    9
    This is more great music by Folds and friends. Professional critics play to their respective niches. You needn't factor their opinions intoThis is more great music by Folds and friends. Professional critics play to their respective niches. You needn't factor their opinions into the product of your own. Full Review »