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Way to Normal

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Editors’ Notes

Ben Folds has made a career out of being peeved. As pop/rock’s reigning Bard of the ‘Burbs, he has captured the aggravations of the ordinary guy better than just about anyone. After toning down his satiric side for a few albums, he gets nice and cranky again on 2008’s Way to Normal. Fold’s signature piano is in top form, nailing down the boogiefied beat on “Dr. Yang,” strutting with abandon on “Errant Dog,” and gliding into elegant balladry on “Kylie from Connecticut.” He nods in the direction of Elton John on “Hiroshima” (a semi-spoof of “Bennie and the Jets”) and invokes the robotic New Wave pop of Gary Numan on “You Don’t Know Me” (a playful duet with Regina Spektor). There are sweet moments, most notably the oddly tender “Cologne,” but Folds fans will especially gravitate towards his more pointed numbers, including the nervous “Free Coffee,” the scathing “Errant Dog,” the ultra-irritated “Bitch Went Nuts,” and the standout “Effington,” a portrait of a central Illinois town at once snide and affectionate. Way to Normal returns Folds to familiar turf, which is not a bad thing. His brand of normalcy remains uniquely his own.

Customer Reviews

Way to Normal

As a huge Ben Folds fan ever since the days of the 5 (1994!) you can bet I was pretty flipping excited for this album. Big letdown. Ben Folds' music has gone from heartfelt and piano-centric to unfeeling and over-produced. Since when does Ben Folds need sound effects on every track? Overall, this album felt very immature, especially following Songs for Silverman, with a couple exceptions including 'The Frown Song' and most noteably 'Kylie from Connecticut.' You should buy it, but only if you're really into Ben Folds, and only because it's Ben Folds.

Folds Has Done it Again

After hearing the first two singles from Folds's seventh studio album, I was incredibly excited. Even following reiteration after reiteration he continues to keep his poppy, rocking piano songs alive and fun to listen to. He mixes things up every now and then, in order to keep it fresh, but at the heart of it all, he's still the Ben Folds that so many people have come to know and love. My faves are Hiroshima, You Don't Know Me, and Effington; I would encourage anyone unsure of their opinions to check those songs out and see what you think. If his often-grumpy, always-hilarious catchy tunes are to your liking, then you're in abundant company here. Here's what I'm going to be listening to for the next month.

Foldsy, you've got a great album. Again.

Ben Folds has recorded a killer new album. It should be bought and it should praised. Thank you for making another. PEOPLE - buy the deluxe version for a couple extra dollars. It well worth it. Barrington O.


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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