|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.|
"...Folds demonstrates exceptional skill in marrying wryly observational lyrics to upbeat piano-driven craziness. Sarah Cohen, Q4Music
"...the new Ben Folds is a lot like the old one: as unpredictable as he is talented. Anders Smith-Lindall, VH1
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|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.|
Producer: Ben Folds; Ben Grosse
Engineer: Andrew R. Wallace; Ben Grosse; Blumpy; Cameron Webb
Bette Midler | Billy Joel | Burt Bacharach | Elton John | Elvis Costello | Fats Waller | Joe Jackson | Joni Mitchell | Let's Active | Loudon Wainwright III | Prefab Sprout | Queen | R.E.M. | Randy Newman | Steely Dan | The dB's | They Might Be Giants | Todd Rundgren
A.C. Newman | Aimee Mann | Argument | Barenaked Ladies | Beck | Beekeepers | Ben Kweller | Built to Spill | Cake | Counting Crows | Crash Kings | Eels | Elliott Smith | Fastball | Freedy Johnston | Getaway Car | Gonzales | Guster | Hanson | Harvey Danger | Homunculus | Jack's Mannequin | Lincoln | Linus of Hollywood | Marc Cohn | Mike Doughty | Morphine | Nada Surf | Nik Freitas | Possum Dixon | Quasi | Red Letter Day (U.K.) | Roger Klug | Rufus Wainwright | Sean Lennon | Sloan | The New Radicals | The Odds | The Presidents of the United States of America | Tori Amos | Willie Wisely | Wolfie | World Party | Zumpano
A Great Big World | Aqueduct | Ben Kweller | Death Cab for Cutie | Jamie Cullum | Jason Mraz | Jonathan Coulton | Joseph Arthur | Lightspeed Champion | Nellie McKay | Rachael Yamagata | Sara Bareilles | Tegan and Sara | The Decemberists | The Fray | The New Pornographers | Yael Na?m
Associated Artists and Works
|Fear Of Pop|
|Release Date : 09/11/2001|
|Original Release Date : 2001|
|Catalog ID : 61610|
|Label : Sony Music Distribution (USA)|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00074646161029|
- 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..."
- 7 out of 10 - "...This is his NYLON CURTAIN...comprehending paradox and understatement like Billy Joel never could..."
- 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..."
- 8 out of 10 - "...Absolutely beautiful..."
- Ranked #30 in Mojo's "Best  Albums of 2001".
- "...Folds' songwriting continues to impress...."
Customer Reviews of Rockin' The Suburbs
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.