Ben Folds

Rockin’ the Suburbs

Epic

For fans of Ben Folds Five – the quirky trio from North Carolina – October 31, 2000 was a grim day. Last Halloween, Ben Fold Five called it quits after five years of creating what many would call musical bliss. However, Ben Folds has not sworn off music for good. His latest solo effort, Rockin’ the Suburbs, brings hope to those who mourn the loss of Ben Folds Five.

After packing up and moving to Australia with his girlfriend and now two-year old twins, Folds has emerged triumphant in his return to melody. The long-awaited Rockin’ the Suburbs offers the return of Fold’s ornate piano stylings, contagious harmonies and sardonic lyrics. The angst-laden single/title track laments the hardships of being the white, middle-class male that so many other groups have capitalized on in the previous years (i.e. Limp Bizkit). Admit it, Folds is singing what we’ve all been thinking while watching Fred Durst and Kid Rock catapult to the top of Total Request Live. He just has the guts to verbalize it.

Folds has an amazing ability to tell stories through his music. "Not the Same" tells the tale of a girl who climbs up a tree at a party and comes down the next morning a Christian. And it is in the same album that Folds relates the story of the "textbook hippie man," (in "The Ascent of Stan") and the sad day when an old journalist is laid off the newspaper staff ("Fred Jones Part 2"). There is also the heartbreakingly beautiful "The Luckiest," in which Folds gives thanks for the true love he has found in his life.

Ben Folds has not lost his magical musical touch – and Ben Folds One is just as cool as Ben Folds Five. Grade: A – Christine Anne Long