17 December 2008 @ 11:21 am
Ah, I suppose it's my turn to post the warm fuzzies meme:

Leave me a comment and I will reply with why I like you. If I don't know you, I'll either make something up or tell you why I like your LiveJournal. You may pay for the privilege by posting a message like this one on your LiveJournal.
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Current Music: How can you not have The Beatles stuck in your head after this subject line?
17 December 2008 @ 01:35 pm
I'm sure nobody but me cares about my little list here, but it's my journal and I can do what I want with it. So there. :p

Artist: Ben Folds

Album: Way To Normal

Why?: Oh, dearest Ben, how could you NOT be on any musical Top 10 list that I might create? Ben Folds is hands down one of my favorite artists, and Way To Normal exemplifies all the things I love about him.

While some people are turned off by his tendency toward tongue-in-cheek humor, I find that is one of the reasons I continually gravitate toward him when I'm in the mood for some music but I'm not sure just quite what. With all there is out there about being in love or being deliriously happy/depressed about something (usually love. . . again) or meditating on the deeper issues of life/that hot chick over there, sometimes you just want to listen to a song about getting a concussion in front of a lot of people (see "song selection" below).

Way To Normal is easily his most droll album yet. Joking aside, Ben Folds' lyrics tell stories unlike any other artist of his genre, at least in my purview. His songs are about people and places and events rather than abstract concepts. His songs have characters we know by name. His songs have plots. For that reason, in those tracks when he moves from the humorous or ironic into the sincere he gives us some startlingly affecting music. To this day, I cite "Fred Jones, pt. 2" from his Rockin' The Suburbs as the saddest track from a rock artist that I've ever heard.

We do get a couple of those tracks here, each gorgeous as usual, but for the most part, Way To Normal is fun, upbeat, and easy to rock out to. There is some unevenness when considering the album as a whole, but individual tracks are stylistically and instrumentally inventive without missing out on Ben's signature piano rock sound. Nobody can deny that the man is first and foremost a musician; he knows what he's doing with his arrangements, and that's incredibly refreshing (just imagine the warm fuzzies I got when, in the middle of his concert in October, he gave the audience a little lesson in prepared piano in anticipation of the song "Free Coffee"). While this might not be my favorite offering from Ben Folds, Way To Normal is definitely nonetheless a great addition to the playlist that bears his name.

Song Selection: "Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)"
This is the opening track of the album. We get so much classic Ben here: infectious, rhythmic piano, an amusing story, and a chorus that's impossible not to sing along to. Again, try to ignore the weirdness of the video and focus on how undeniably fun the song is.

***Just a little heads-up: there IS a tiny bit of language in this (and I do mean tiny), so if you've got sensitive ears around that you don't want hearing it, you may want to put on some headphones. Consider yourself warned.***

ETA: Apologies for the annoying ad that plays before the video. I had to go with a non-YouTube source for this one as embedding was disabled on all offerings of it over there. Boo.
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