Ben Folds’ first solo album, Rockin’ the Suburbs, could easily have been another Ben Folds Five album — more smart piano/bass/drums pop. It was also a step up from Reinhold Messner because Folds focused more on writing good songs than delivering an oddball concept album.
Still, in a way Rockin’ the Suburbs is a concept album in its own right. Almost all of its songs are character sketches, short stories told in three minutes’ time. And Folds proved to be an expert at these mini-narratives.