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CD Reviews:  Ben Folds Five: Ben Folds Five

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Ben Folds called it punk rock for sissies, his deceptively named three-piece combo. With Folds banging away on piano, Robert Sledge on bass and Darren Jessee on drums, Ben Folds Five's first album was wildly inventive, with the energy of the Replacements and melodies that Burt Bacharach and the Beatles would have killed for. Their live shows were even better. 

"Stop the bus! I want to be lonely," Ben sings on the opening track "Jackson Cannery." Folds' words are those of a man who lived through the depressing Goth phase that almost every fan of 1980s modern rock experienced, and came out okay on the other side. Other evidence lies in "Underground," a sly ribbing of the modern rock scene as it then existed. Folds pokes fun at his own lack of self esteem with the line "There was a girl that passed me by / She gave a smile but I was shy, and I looked down / So down." "The Last Polka" is one of the fastest songs ever done in a minor key, telling the story of a couple about to implode. "The cruelest lies are often told without a word / The kindest truths are often spoken, never heard." The album closes with "Boxing," an imaginary letter from Muhammad Ali to Howard Cosell that's incredibly touching. 

Ben Folds Five was a welcomed breath of fresh air in a music scene that was choking itself to death with grunge and the inevitable nothing-alternative-about- it-alternative rock movement (Dishwalla, Verve Pipe, etc.) that succeeded grunge. It may not have been a huge seller, but the sissies didn't mind.

~David Medsker : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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