It seems that Ben Folds is everywhere these days. Turn on your TV and you’ll see him as one of the judges on The Sing Off (currently in its third season), he recently appeared as a cohost on the fourth hour of the Today Show filling in for Kathie Lee Gifford, and he’s heavily promoting his new album, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. He even appeared on The Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick making my geek girl heart squee with delight. Mr. Folds has taken the media by storm (if my mom knows who you are, you’ve made it!) and he’s certainly hoping to use his new found fame in order to capitalize on his latest release.
I’ve been a fan of Ben Fold’s for many, many years, and while this latest album (well, albums–there are three discs included) really doesn’t offer much in the way of new material, I still felt like I had to have it. He’s included many of the crowd favorites that I expected to be there (The Luckiest, Rockin the Suburbs), but to start the album off with Brick seemed to be a bit odd. The tracks bounce around, and the flow isn’t great, but the songs are strong and that seems to make up for the overall disjointed feel of the album.
I keep coming back to Ben Folds and his tracks because I appreciate the slight wink and nod that he seems to give to his fans and to the industry. He doesn’t seem to take things too seriously (remember those two seconds when chat roulette was awesome? YouTube Ben’s chat roulette and you’ll see what I mean), he seeks out talented artists to collaborate with even if they aren’t musicians (recently working with Nick Hornby and Neil Gaimen), and his live performances are some of the best I’ve seen.
If you’re not already a fan of Ben Folds this album could be a good introduction to his work, but if you’re already a fan, chances are you have almost everything he’s putting out in the retrospective. That being said, there are few other artists today who have been as productive or inspiring over the length of a career. Listen to some Ben Folds and get in-touch with your inner piano rock god.