Ben Folds | Way To Normal

Epic (2008)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  September 23, 2008
1.5 1.5 Stars
When Ben Folds’s music was concerned with the aimlessness of a post-adolescent funk (think of the three records released by his Chapel Hill–based trio, Ben Folds Five, which yielded bouncy pop confections about growing up a bullying victim, wallowing in apathy, and joining the Army), it was clever, funny, and endearing. His recent string of solo albums has been burdened with an increasingly “mature” autobiography, and to these ears, his take on adulthood simply isn’t as interesting. His latest has his trademark mallet-fingered piano bangin’ and fuzz bass, but the songs — tales of bitter, bickering grown-ups and injury-sustaining rock stars — are loud tantrums of little consequence. And Way to Normal tries way too hard to be funny, whether it’s the Elton John joke (“Hiroshima (B-B-B-Benny Hit His Head)”), the wounded-male-ego misfire (“Bitch Went Nuts”), or the self-censored cuss song (“Effington”). Even Folds’s knack for a well-placed f-bomb has devolved into a lazy device masquerading as irreverence. His attitude may remain young at heart, but his irony’s over the hill.
Related: Putting the pop into the Pops, On the racks: May 16, 2006, Gag reflex, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Elton John, Ben Folds, Ben Folds,  More more >
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