Songs for Silverman is a great album. FULL STOP. His best yet? I'm not sure - I'll have to see whether I return to it in ten years time. From the first track this album delivers some of Ben Fold's most complex and stirring melodies of his career. Everyone keeps saying its more "grown-up", which to me sounds like damning with faint praise; one of the things I have loved most about his previous albums is his supreme musical capability, mixed with an infantile sense of mischief. It doesn't have those lyrically subversive songs such as One Angry Dwarf, or Rockin' the Suburbs, but instead Fold's playfulness is channelled into the spontaneous weaving of melody, harmony and rhythm which makes each song totally distinctive. Like in The Ascent of Stan, ******* is a letter to growing old and those who value maturity above living in the moment. As with so many of Ben Fold's songs, surface vitriol covers a pre-eminent wiseness, and ******* addresses all those who grow old too fast and embrace empty nostalgia all too readily. Whilst not my favourite song on the album (and there are many to choose from - Jesusland coming out on top), I think it embodies the tension of Fold's developing style, and his resolution to remain free spirited. Trusted is a far more measured reaction to an event where he may previously have shouted "*****" and asked for his T-shirt back, but hey, if he stayed the same, we wouldn't have so many diverse albums to enjoy over again. Tune after tune, this album cries out to be turned up loud, Landed is fantastic, and Late softens the sinews in a way that hasn't be equalled since Brick. His ability to tell stories and create characters is still inspiring, and his live performances are electric (see him wherever, whenever you can). Why he isn't more popular, I will never know, but as long as there are a few people appreciating his brilliance, Ben Folds will continue to make music with which you can grown old, and remain forever young. Buy it!
Ben Folds returns here to where he's been before. By recruiting a drummer and bass player as his band members the result is, unsurprisingly, not a million miles from Ben Folds Five, his previous band. So this is far more like, say, "Whatever and Ever Amen" than Ben's last solo album offering "Rockin The Suburbs". On the strength of the first few listens there isn't a stand out track, except perhaps 'Landed', or 'Trusted'. Ben's mellowed of late, there's a distinct lack of the piano punishment heard previously, and on in songs like "Gracie" (about his daughter, bless) he's in danger of approaching easy-listening. But otherwise there is the usual Folds high quality and I'm sure more than a few are destined to grow on me. The DVD packaged with this is what you might call a home movie, as Ben gives an interview to a background of studio footage recorded by his wife during the making of... An interesting peek at the process of recording, and noticing how Ben has put on just a bit of weight, but not something you'll ever watch more than a couple of times. The packaging of the CD & DVD is a black hard-back book which looks very smart with arty photos, lyrics etc inside. Unfortunately it's a total pain to get the discs out of and I can see it getting very tatty very quickly. And, of course, it doesn't fit on your CD shelf. To sum up; if you loved Ben Folds earlier work with BFF you'll like this. Ben's older, chubbier, mellower, but the magic's still there. Back to the drawing board on the packaging though.
Every time I get a new Ben Folds album, I wonder if it can possibly be as good as the ones preceding it. Yet, he managed it with every Ben Folds Five album, and has with every solo album since. Songs for Silverman is instantly loveable with excellent tracks throughout. I'm reluctant to select single tracks for praise, as this would be a disservice to tracks not mentioned. Although if I may, 'Gracie' written about Folds' five year old daughter is beautiful. Any Ben Folds fan will love this album, but I also feel people who perhaps haven't enjoyed his earlier records will too. Songs for Silverman sees Folds in a more harmonious mood, seemingly very content with life. This fresh outlook produces a brilliant album, both musically and lyrically. The bonus DVD contains some interesting interviews and behind the scenes footage, it's definitely worth the extra money.
Songs for Silverman, Folds' second albumn away from the Five is a move on from Rockin' The Suburbs. This albumn is more considered and more mature. Folds has took a step away from the irreverant wit I love, but he has moved on to songs that are just as pleasing to the ear. Songs like Landed and You To Thank, show although Folds has moved more towards an adult- contemporary style, he can still knock out a great tune. Personally my favourite song on the albumn is Gracie, a touching, sweet song, about his baby daughter. it always leaves a big smile on my face and lines like "you got your mommas taste but you got my mouth" and endlessly quotable. This is a complete albumn and one that will please old and new Folds fans alike. There isn't one bad song on the albumn, but the first 7 tracks are all uniformly exceptional. Buy it, so I can live happily knowing Folds is being recognised as the major talent he is, still escapes me how he isn't huge!!
It's easy to see with these reviews the ones that are written by fans - glowing 5 star reviews that, once the hype of the album has died down, and the songs aren't any longer fresh are worthy only of three stars at the most - I've done it - so two and a half years after it's release, It's time to re evaluate.
In short - I still love this album. Not only is it, in my opinion the best thing Ben Folds has ever recorded, it's also probably my favourite album ever.
Although I loved Ben Folds Five, as I have grown a little older, some of the earlier stuff, the more flippant, humourous songs have started to grate on me - which is why I love SFS. It's an earnest record. Yeah, it's wry, but not in an out and out frat boy kind of way - it's (and it's been said time and time again) mature.
There are still one or two tracks that I skip - Give Judy My Notice sounds much better without a band on his internet demo's - but still, it's not a bad song, it's just I prefer the other version...
Nearly every track on this album is great, and is the album I give to people to try and convert them - and not one person hasn't liked it.
Ben Folds skill is in his ability to write refreshingly honest lyrics, to write a ballad without sounding trite, and to absolutely rock the foundations of anywhere he plays with just a piano.
If you are just getting into The Folds, start with this album, and if you alreday love The Folds, then you already know what I'm talking about.
The only album I own that I would whole heartedly give five stars.
Two years ago, I started dating this guy. I used to stay over sometimes during the week, and whenever I did, he'd always get up stupidly early while I tried to stay asleep in bed, and put on one of his CDs at top volume (probably specifically to annoy me). Every day I used to groan, roll over, and yell at him if he didn't turn it off.
But this all changed one morning...
He got up and I stuffed my head under the pillow in preparation, but then the first strains of 'Bastard' snuck under the pillow and invaded my ears. I sat up faster than a bag of fast things. I asked him who it was, made him turn it up, and got out of bed earlier than I ever have before so I could listen to this album.
Since then, I have been to see Ben Folds live (which was incredible, by the way), own all the albums, a DVD, a t shirt...I listen to Ben Folds every single day.
This album is one of the best albums I own. If you don't own it, you should be ashamed of yourself! No matter what type of music you are into, this cannot fail to disappoint (trust me, I like my pop and my boyfriend is a dirty rock 'n' roller, yet we both love him).
And if you picked up on it, I'm still going out with the guy who introduced me to Ben Folds. How could I break up with him after that?!
Why some singer songwriters make it big whilst other remain cult artists is probably down to luck more than anything else. That can be the only explanation as to why BF is not a household name, particularly in the UK. His sporadity brushes with relative success are a poor return for his skills as a writer and performer. Mind you, if success is judged on the quality of output, he is very successful indeed. This album comes across as 'Billy Joel at his peak meets Randy Newman' and is a superb set of anthems and ditties. Maybe less commercial then Rockin The Suberbs but it's a more assured album the deserves much greater success than it will get.
I was very sad to hear that Ben Folds Five had taken the decision to split, and later, very pleased to hear that Mr Folds had decided to take up on his own. It was with more than a little dissapointment that I heard his first release (at least I think it was his first) in this country - the single "Rockin' the Suburbs". It was as a result of hearing this that I chose not to buy any of Ben Folds' solo material, assuming that he had gone back down the route of singing childish, irreverant, silly songs containing gratuitous swearing. How wrong was I. I saw Ben perform on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and bought Songs for Silverman the next day. I was delighted to find that Rockin' the Suburbs (off the previous album) was a one-off abberation and the rest of his solo material more than makes up for it. It is my favourite album and one I listen to time and time again. Why on earth he chose to release that particular song first is beyond me, as it is in no way representative of the kind of emotional and grown-up music he does best. Both of these solo albums are excellent, give them a try.