2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
brilliant debut from top pop writer,
This review is from: Rockin' The Suburbs (Audio CD)
Having established a reputation as a talented writer of pop songs with his former outfit Ben Folds Five, Folds' debut solo album may take some people by surprise with its tender nature. 'Rockin the Suburbs' is essentially a collection of songs about personal anguish, from the girl waiting patiently for her date who never shows (Annie Waits), through to tales of religious exploitation (Not The Same) and unstable girls reliant on other people (Carrying Cathy). These songs are all light in sound, piano-led ballads most reminiscent of old BF5 songs like 'Brick', for some this will be a disappointment and certainly the first time I heard it I didn't find it instantly accessible.
On first play though there is one standout track, as just as the songs of one-night stands with girls who look like Axl Rose seem firmly in his past, Folds returns to familiar pop ground with the title track 'Rockin' the Suburbs'. Upbeat and poppy, with guitars and synthesisers, Folds offers a biting critique of the noticeably less talented of today's top stars. Although he doesn't name names, the remarkably clever styles of songwriting make it obvious who he's taken aim at: "Dunno how much I can take/Give me something I can break" is a good line, as Folds imitates thoroughly-whinging nu-metal meathead Fred Durst, and the bass solo at the end clearly takes a chunk out of KoRn. As all this is going on, Ben even manages to namecheck the people who *are* worthy of credit (Quiet Riot, Michael Jackson, Jon Bon Jovi).
To say that the best track on the album harks back to BF5 days should not take anything away from the rest of the album. Once you've heard the album through a couple of times, there are 5 or 6 brilliant songs here they just take time to grow on you, and I would easily recommend it to any Ben Folds Five fans or anyone into piano-led music.