Song of the Day #2,636: ‘So There’ – Ben Folds

ben_folds_so_thereAfter a dry spell for new music, I’ve recently picked up three very good and very different releases. I’ll feature a song from each this week.

First up is Ben Folds, who last graced us with The Sound of the Life of the Mind, his reunion album with Ben Folds Five. Since then, he has delved into classical composing and his new disc, So There, features his first fully instrumental work.

Those tracks (‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,’ separated into three movements) make up the back half of the new album. I’ve listened to it once (not being much of a classical music fan) and enjoyed its cinematic flair. You can tell it came from the mind and hands of Ben Folds. That said, I doubt I’ll ever play it again… no offense to the man, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

The album’s first half, though, is exactly my cup of tea: Eight piano pop songs spruced up with the addition of a chamber orchestra (yMusic, a New York City-based sextet).

Most of the tracks are classic Folds — melodic, clever and just emotional enough. The one exception is the crass and juvenile ‘F10-D-A,’ a juvenile detour that is fortunately brief.

These songs mine mostly bitter territory, inspired (I’m guessing) by Folds’ latest divorce. He doles out the blame but also points a finger back at himself. That’s especially true on the final non-instrumental track, ‘I’m Not the Man,’ the album’s best. In that track, Folds laments that “there could be fewer days ahead than gone,” something with which guys his age — and mine — have to come to terms.

As long as Folds’ remaining days contain more musical explorations like this one, I think we’ll both be all right.

A mattress and a stereo
Just like I started
And a note composed with thumbs and phone
On unpacked boxes

It’s so well written
But I won’t be sending it
And I will not forget you;
There is nothing to forget
Oh, so there

Through shiny streets and dirty snow
Blue skies and deadness
Oh Brooklyn it’s my second sleep
I damn well did this

The world got big again
You could get rid of it
And I cannot forget you;
There is nothing to forget
Oh, so there

You taught me nothing
I owe you nothing
How could I forget you
When there’s nothing to forget?
Oh, so there


4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,636: ‘So There’ – Ben Folds

  1. Maddie says:

    😀 I love this album a lot. Finally stopped listening to it on repeat for a while. But yea I’ve only listened to the instrumental tracks once of twice all the way through.

  2. Dana says:

    I’m enjoying the album as well, now that I finally have it. Maddie had preordered through iTunes and then downloaded two of the songs released early. When the album was released, iTunes showed it as purchased, but wouldn’t let me download. I got on the phone with iTunes and they corrected it, but then I was able to hear everything except the two songs that had been released early. Anyway, a synch through iCloud’s resolved that. Certainly a more complicated experience than the old days of buying a record at the store.

    Anyway, I too have only gotten through the concertos once, if even that, but the rest of the album has been on repeat. I even like the sophomor “F with a D in the A,” though Amy is not “a fan” of that one. It reminds me of an adult version of a They Might Be Giants album we used to play the kids featuring “ICU,” though the Folds song is more clever in that the notes match the lyrics.

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure which song you intended to feature as the link starts with “Capable of Anything” and the scrolls through the entire album, which is nice for those who haven’t yet heard it. If I had found this link earlier. I could have saved a call to iTunes and the money for buying the record.😄

  3. Clay says:

    Weird. I’m trying to embed the title track. Just updated it… hope that works,

  4. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I have listened to “So There” many times since it was first released and I have nothing but positive things to say about it. Again in this album Ben Folds is able to maintain a good balance of very deep and melancholy tunes mixed with upbeat and hysterical ones (such as F10-D-A). Though I’m not sure that this album will become a staple in the music I listen to when studying or sitting uncomfortably in an airplane it’s definitely not one to be missed out on. This album really shows Ben Folds prowess as far as string instruments go which you might expect he’d have based off his amazing band Ben Folds Five.

    Speaking of Ben Folds Five… After listening to this album today I was put into a Ben Folds mood and decided to listen to “Sound of the Life of the Mind” and I thought again to myself how crazy it was that this album was not included in the best albums of the decade. It still confuses me that to this day that album didn’t end up placing in the (was it 25?) spots you had to include great music from this decade. Just sayin’.

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