The  Sound of the Life of the Mind Image
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth studio album for the indie rock band is its first release of new music in 13 years.
  • Record Label: ImaVeePee Records
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Sep 18, 2012
    75
    Mind sounds exactly what a mature Ben Folds Five record should sound like: hard-won wisdom and withering observations with an unabashedly sentimental core.
  2. Sep 18, 2012
    70
    Very little here could be accused of being twee; Folds sounds invigorated to have a rock band behind him again, making him play harder, sing harder, be harder.
  3. Sep 24, 2012
    70
    This is a solid, if unspectacular, comeback and fans will be crossing their fingers that The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind is a new beginning, rather than a one-off cash-in.
  4. 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.
  5. 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]
  6. 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.
  7. Sep 20, 2012
    35
    Even as Sledge and Jessee work to add some rough edges to the music, their frontman keeps his distance on Sound of the Life of the Mind, as though he can't quite get outside his own mind. As a result, the album sounds barely able to polarize, like Folds is rockin' the suburbs gently to sleep.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

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 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. Expand
  2. Sep 18, 2012
    9
    Ben Folds and company are in full form on this long-awaited return. The boasting charge of "Erase Me" and other energetic tracks keep flush with the melodrama of "Thank You For Breaking My Heart", making this album solid throughout. The skill of the piano, bass, and drum sounds is virtually guaranteed given the listener's prerequisite of BFF's earlier albums. The real strength of this effort is not in the instrumentation expected of it but in the well-placed and well-delivered strings and abrupt stops: the truly unpredictable elements. Each track boasts its own unique progression, giving the album an overall feeling of participation, sort of being along for the ride as the current of jazz-enthused alt-rock pushes the listener in and out with the tide, providing just the sort of escape regular listeners have come to expect from the piano-rock veterans. Expand
  3. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    This 10 tracks album strangely started with slow sad song and afterwards, things come to change to best indie rock songs from this old band that can compared to new bands like spector or gaslight anthem. Recommended for indie fans. Dont let the old guys let down your expectations. Expand
  4. 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 into the product of your own. Expand
  5. 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 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.
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