Rockin' The Suburbs CD (2001)

Artist: Ben Folds

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on 6/27/2002

ben folds is amazing. beginning as a drummer, then later learning the piano, as he is most known for, he breaks away from his band to record an album that is entirely him. from start to finish. featuring many background vocals, including that of the lead singer from cake on track 5, ben folds puts out his best album ever. a must have. period.

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Product Overview

After three albums, including the platinum-selling Whatever And Ever Amen, that spawned the hit single "Brick," the members of the Ben Folds Five decided they'd had a great run and disbanded in March 2001. We just didn't have the same drive," says Ben Folds of the breakup. "If it had still been exciting and fun, we would've carried on." Ben Folds' new effort sans band, rockin' in the suburbs was recorded in an old church with producer Ben Grosse (Fuel, Filter) at the controls, and Folds on anything he could get his hands on. Writing all of the songs, and playing nearly all the instruments himself, rockin' the suburbs is 100% classic Ben Folds. But church-studio clarity isn't the only reason why the record is completely engaging from beginning to end. The characters in Folds' songs are touching because, at one point in time, we've come in contact with them. We've all met the Eighties femme fatale in "zak and sara," who forecasts the world of techno in her mind while enduring her dullard boyfriend's attempts at Van Halen solos. Who hasn't confronted a passive-aggressive employer like Lucretia in "fired?", or the spoiled girl enabled by her family in "carrying cathy"? The demanding, suicide-threatening paramour in "losing lisa" has touched more people's lives than rained-out scarecrows and steel mill closings. Even the acid-baked partygoer-turned God's servant in "not the same" is based on a true story so fascinating, it makes you wonder why America has a war on drugs in the first place. The tour de force on rockin' the suburbs, however, is the title track, where Folds slides a psychic-skewer through the kidneys of today's oh-so angry new-metal millionaires. Add producer Grosse's hardware into the equation ("Got a producer with computers fixing all my shi--y tracks"), and you also realize that the singer isn't beyond pointing the knife at himself just prior to jamming out arena-style at the song's end.


Label Sony
SKU 60500160
UPC 074646161029
UPC 14 00074646161029
Format CD
Release Date 9/11/2001
Author Ben Folds
Associated Artist/Work Fear Of Pop
Associated Artist/Work Nick Hornby
Associated Artist/Work WASO
Artist Influence Bette Midler
Artist Influence Billy Joel
Artist Influence Burt Bacharach
Artist Influence Elton John
Artist Influence Elvis Costello
Artist Influence Fats Waller
Artist Influence Joe Jackson
Artist Influence Joni Mitchell
Artist Influence Let's Active
Artist Influence Loudon Wainwright III
Artist Influence Prefab Sprout
Artist Influence Queen
Artist Influence R.E.M.
Artist Influence Randy Newman
Artist Influence Steely Dan
Artist Influence The dB's
Artist Influence They Might Be Giants
Artist Influence Todd Rundgren
Artist Contemporary A.C. Newman
Artist Contemporary Aimee Mann
Artist Contemporary Argument
Artist Contemporary Barenaked Ladies
Artist Contemporary Beck
Artist Contemporary Beekeepers
Artist Contemporary Ben Kweller
Artist Contemporary Built to Spill
Artist Contemporary Cake
Artist Contemporary Counting Crows
Artist Contemporary Crash Kings
Artist Contemporary Eels
Artist Contemporary Elliott Smith
Artist Contemporary Fastball
Artist Contemporary Freedy Johnston
Artist Contemporary Getaway Car
Artist Contemporary Gonzales
Artist Contemporary Guster
Artist Contemporary Hanson
Artist Contemporary Harvey Danger
Artist Contemporary Homunculus
Artist Contemporary Jack's Mannequin
Artist Contemporary Lincoln
Artist Contemporary Linus of Hollywood
Artist Contemporary Marc Cohn
Artist Contemporary Mike Doughty
Artist Contemporary Morphine
Artist Contemporary Nada Surf
Artist Contemporary Nik Freitas
Artist Contemporary Possum Dixon
Artist Contemporary Quasi
Artist Contemporary Red Letter Day (U.K.)
Artist Contemporary Roger Klug
Artist Contemporary Rufus Wainwright
Artist Contemporary Sean Lennon
Artist Contemporary Sloan
Artist Contemporary The New Radicals
Artist Contemporary The Odds
Artist Contemporary The Presidents of the United States of America
Artist Contemporary Tori Amos
Artist Contemporary Willie Wisely
Artist Contemporary Wolfie
Artist Contemporary World Party
Artist Contemporary Zumpano
Artist Follower A Great Big World
Artist Follower Aqueduct
Artist Follower Ben Kweller
Artist Follower Death Cab for Cutie
Artist Follower Jamie Cullum
Artist Follower Jamie Lawson
Artist Follower Jason Mraz
Artist Follower Jonathan Coulton
Artist Follower Joseph Arthur
Artist Follower Lightspeed Champion
Artist Follower Nellie McKay
Artist Follower Rachael Yamagata
Artist Follower Sara Bareilles
Artist Follower Tegan and Sara
Artist Follower The Decemberists
Artist Follower The Fray
Artist Follower The New Pornographers
Artist Follower Yael Na?m
Technical Info
Engineer Andrew R. Wallace; Ben Grosse; Blumpy; Cameron Webb
Producer Ben Folds; Ben Grosse
CatalogID 61610
Lable Name Sony Music Distribution (USA)
Released 09/11/2001
Original Release 2001
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00074646161029
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel includes: Ben Folds (vocals, various instruments); Frally Hynes, John McCrea (vocals); Richard Fortus (guitar); Larry Corbett (cello); DJ Swamp.
Recorded at Krell Studios, Adelaide, Australia; The Mix Room and Ben Grosse's House, Los Angeles, California.
Personnel: Ben Folds (piano); John McCrea (vocals); Richard Fortus (guitar); Larry Corbett (cello); John Vitale (programming).
Audio Mixer: Ben Grosse.
Recording information: Krell Studios, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; Lafx, Los Angeles, CA; Mad Hatter, Los Angeles, CA; Mix Room, Los Angeles, CA.
Arranger: John Mark Painter.
For ROCKIN' THE SUBURBS, Ben Folds has subtracted two from Ben Folds Five (bassist Robert Sledge & drummer Darren Jessee) and the remainder is one. While math may not be Folds' strong point, penning witty, intelligent pop tunes has been his forte from the beginning. With his solo debut, he proves himself eminently capable outside the safe structure of his able band. Of all the 70's/80's pop icons to which Folds is frequently compared (i.e. Billy Joel, Elton John, Joe Jackson), Todd Rundgren rings the truest. If one extends that comparison, "Still Fighting It" (with its instantly memorable refrain "it sucks to grow up") is Folds's "Hello It's Me," a somewhat simple yet subtly moving and eminently catchy ballad made for radio play.
On the title track, Folds proves he hasn't entirely grown beyond the goofball humor that first captured his audience's attention ("y'all don't know what it's like being male, middle-class and white") as he rags on either himself or (more likely) angry young rock bands like Limp Bizkit. This balance struck between sober maturity and youthful playfulness makes ROCKIN' THE SUBURBS a provocative record.
Artist Overview
North Carolina's Ben Folds Five flouted convention at every turn; for starters, they were a trio, not a quintet. And for an (initially) indie pop/rock band, the absence of guitar (leader Folds was a singer/pianist) was an anomaly, along with the band's mix of catchy popcraft and offbeat, lighthearted lyrical content. After breaking through to the majors with two late-'90s albums, Folds dismantled the band and continued as a solo artist, scoring a hit in 2001 with the characteristically quirky "Rockin' the Suburbs." He would continue to release crisp pop records sporadically throughout the 2000s, while remaining a tremendous concert draw. Along the way, he produced an album by William Shatner. In the 2010s, Folds saw his biggest chart success yet with Top 15 solo albums and a Five reunion. ~ Rovi Staff
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (9/27/01, p.70) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Pop's most introspective wiseass.... indulging his taste for florid Seventies-style AM-radio pop with epic displays of one-man band virtuosity.... Folds' songcraft is a winning mixture of the plush and the prickly..."
Spin (9/01, pp.160,162) - 7 out of 10 - "...This is his NYLON CURTAIN...comprehending paradox and understatement like Billy Joel never could..."
Q (10/01, p.119) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Sometimes, it sails close to novelty record territory but Folds demonstrates exceptional skill in marrying wryly observational lyrics to upbeat piano-driven craziness..."
Alternative Press (10/01, p.79) - 8 out of 10 - "...Absolutely beautiful..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/02, p.71) - Ranked #30 in Mojo's "Best [40] Albums of 2001".
Mojo (Publisher) (10/01, p.130) - "...Folds' songwriting continues to impress...."
Disc 1
1 Annie Waits,Annie Waits
2 Zak And Sara,Zak And Sara
3 Still Fighting It,Still Fighting It,Still Fighting It
4 Gone
5 Fred Jones Part 2,Fred Jones Part 2,Fred Jones Part 2
6 Ascent Of Stan, The,Ascent Of Stan, The
7 Losing Lisa
8 Carrying Cathy,Carrying Cathy
9 Not The Same,Not The Same,Not The Same
10 Rockin' The Suburbs,Rockin' The Suburbs,Rockin' The Suburbs
11 Fired
12 Luckiest, The,Luckiest, The,Luckiest, The
Marc Weingarten, Entertainment Weekly ...a pop fantasia that seals Folds' rep as the Cole Porter of underclass underdogs.
Sarah Cohen, Q4Music ...Folds demonstrates exceptional skill in marrying wryly observational lyrics to upbeat piano-driven craziness.
Anders Smith-Lindall, VH1 ...the new Ben Folds is a lot like the old one: as unpredictable as he is talented.
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amazing. on Jun 27, 2002