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Songs for Silverman

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Editors’ Notes

Any doubts that Ben Folds would remain in the shadow of his defunct trio were dispelled by 2005’s Songs for Silverman. On this release, Folds asserts his credentials as a singer/songwriter by emphasizing craft over flashiness. He displays his affinity for ‘70s pop/rock by enlisting arranger Paul Buckmaster (the string maestro behind Elton John’s Madman Across the Water) to orchestrate several tracks. Most importantly, Folds offers a batch of fine-crafted tunes and performs them with a strengthened sense of purpose. He reverts to his familiar smart-alecky persona in the likeably snide “Bastard” and the quietly insulting “Give Judy My Notice.” But sadness rather than sarcasm is the pervasive mood here, expressed in both personal (“Landed,” “Prison Food”) and cultural (“Jesusland”) terms. Folds is brilliant at capturing small, acute moments of feeling, as in “You to Thank” and “Sentimental Guy.” Most affecting are “Late” (a wistful tribute to his friend Elliott Smith) and “Gracie” (a lovingly-drawn portrait of his daughter). With a few exceptions (“Bastard” in particular), Folds restrains his flamboyant piano style in favor of more nuanced effects. All told, Songs for Silverman is a work of sustained inspiration and bittersweet charm.

Customer Reviews

Memoirs of a party-boy

This was the first album of Ben Folds that I listened to. I really liked it and decided to explore his earlier catalogue, realizing that I'd heard "Rockin' the Sububs" before, on the radio or somewhere. I found "Songs for Silverman" to be a much more "chill" sound than his earlier work, especially as Ben Folds Five. It came across to me as a man reflecting on his 20s with the more seasoned, retrospective thoughtfulness of someone "rounding the bend" at 30. I was a little put-off by "Bastard" as the album opener, but it warmed up to me after a second listen. "Landed" is by far the best song on the album. It remains in my top-five favorite songs of all-time. Other stand-out tracks include "Gracie" and "Trusted". The former actually inspired me to name my future daughter Grace, especially so I can sing it to her someday. It's disappointing that iTunes marked the entire album 'Explicit' just because the opener has a few s-words. I'm also unfamiliar with the new version of "Landed" on this particular collection. But the original 2005 release is a four-star piano rock album. Ben Folds now resides in my state (Michigan) which is cool!

Under Appreciated

In my opinion, Ben Folds demonstrates some of the most thoughtful and beautiful music on this album, but nobody pays much attention to it. The songs Gracie, Landed, Time, and Sentimental Guy, in my opinion should all be #1s. I'm pretty new to Ben Fold's, but I can tell by this album that he has amazing talent and I don't know why more people are paying attention to this album.

Ben Folds is Still God

Though it started out with "Bastard" , a song I wasn't crazy about, it shot up from there. Landed and Trusted are both brilliant, and a blast to play on Piano, Sentimental Guy truly shows his versatility as an artist, and Time melts your heart. A great 2nd solo album from Ben Folds, one of the most talented modern pianists. I can't wait for his next full album.


Born: September 12, 1966 in Winston-Salem, NC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/pianist Ben Folds (born September 12, 1966, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is best known as the leader of the power pop trio Ben Folds Five, but has also struck out on his own as a solo artist. Despite playing in bands in high school, his musical career didn't really get off the ground until the late '80s, as a bassist for Majosha (the outfit issued such obscure releases as Party Night: Five Songs About Jesus and Shut Up and Listen to Majosha). Proving his multi-instrumental talents, Folds...
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