12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Half satirist, half romantic, Ben Folds looks upon Middle America with a jaundiced yet affectionate eye. On his official solo debut, Rockin’ the Suburbs, he applies his storytelling skills to a batch of piano-centered tunes that recall the likes of Elton John, Joe Jackson, and early Paul McCartney. Folds is an astute observer of human foibles — his portraits of adolescent oddballs (“Zak and Sara”), broken-down working stiffs (“Fred Jones, Pt. 2”), and flaccid rockers (the title tune) are vividly drawn. He tempers his desire towards keyboard embellishment with a sense of proportion, avoiding arrangement clutter in favor of classic harmonies (“Still Fighting It”) and crisp dynamics (“The Ascent of Stan”). The most pleasing development here is Folds’ growth as a balladeer. Without veering into sappiness, he manages to achieve a heart-tugging grace on tracks like “The Luckiest” and “Carrying Cathy.” Just when he threatens to turn into a “sensitive” singer/songwriter, Ben slips in subversive lyric details — “Losing Lisa,” for instance, merges the love of a girl with the pleasures of shopping. Folds’ boyish midrange vocals and fragile falsetto add a poignant touch. Sweetly sardonic, Rockin’ the Suburbs is the sort of wry valentine only Folds can deliver.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Half satirist, half romantic, Ben Folds looks upon Middle America with a jaundiced yet affectionate eye. On his official solo debut, Rockin’ the Suburbs, he applies his storytelling skills to a batch of piano-centered tunes that recall the likes of Elton John, Joe Jackson, and early Paul McCartney. Folds is an astute observer of human foibles — his portraits of adolescent oddballs (“Zak and Sara”), broken-down working stiffs (“Fred Jones, Pt. 2”), and flaccid rockers (the title tune) are vividly drawn. He tempers his desire towards keyboard embellishment with a sense of proportion, avoiding arrangement clutter in favor of classic harmonies (“Still Fighting It”) and crisp dynamics (“The Ascent of Stan”). The most pleasing development here is Folds’ growth as a balladeer. Without veering into sappiness, he manages to achieve a heart-tugging grace on tracks like “The Luckiest” and “Carrying Cathy.” Just when he threatens to turn into a “sensitive” singer/songwriter, Ben slips in subversive lyric details — “Losing Lisa,” for instance, merges the love of a girl with the pleasures of shopping. Folds’ boyish midrange vocals and fragile falsetto add a poignant touch. Sweetly sardonic, Rockin’ the Suburbs is the sort of wry valentine only Folds can deliver.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
333 Ratings
333 Ratings
c55guitar ,

Ben Folds: a review

Ben Folds and Ben Folds five exceed the expectations of "good music." I have personally witnessed the perfection of this band live. Rockin' the suburbs is an essential peice of album history to posess. However, the live CD's are where "it's at". Ben Folds is truly a band that "lives to play live" and you can feel and see the effort and seriousness they put into their creation of music. I highly recommend this band to any avid musician or innocent bystander.

-Jordan Staub

Anon111 ,

Ben Folds' Best

This album is like an everything bagel - it has a little taste of all the things you load on your iPod - and it's AMAZING! Ben Folds paves the way to near-perfection with his passionate piano-playing... breakup, loss, reminiscence, love, death, and family themes blended masterfully with piano, percussion, and fabulous melodies and (some goofy, some heartfelt - all excellent) lyrics make this album as extraordinary as it is. Ben Folds (piano, vocals, drums, guitar, bass guitar) is joined by great talent [Larry Corbett – cello, DJ Swamp – beats, Richard Fortus – guitar, John McCrea – vocals (on "Fred Jones, Pt. 2"), Frally Hynes – vocals (on "Gone"), John Mark Painter – conductor , Cameron Webb – engineer, Vincent Palmeri - acoustic guitar, vocals]. The songs are masterfully written and recorded. Bravo to Ben Folds! If you want to hear some beautiful, catchy, hauntingly amazing music, buy this album! **Favorites: Gone (4), Zak and Sara (2), The Ascent of Stan (6), Still Fighting It (3), Rockin' the Suburbs (10), and Fred Jones, Pt. 2 (5). 5 stars!!!!
(For those of you skimming reviews: THIS IS A MUST-LISTEN, MUST-BUY, MUST-LOVE!! 5 STARS! 101%!)

Crayon ,

One of the greatest artists of all time.

This album Is by far the best Ben Folds album around and potentially my favorite album ever! I mean every song Is perfect. This man has a gift and I strongly encourage you to check him out. My favs are Fred Jones, Pt. 2 and Zak and Sara.

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