|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
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.