Best Albums of the 2010s – #10
Lonely Avenue – Ben Folds (2010)
Ben Folds, one of my favorite artists, had a very lean decade. His last solo release was 2015’s So There, an album recorded with the chamber ensemble yMusic that featured a handful of songs plus an orchestral piece. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2010.
But that 2010 album was a doozy. Written in collaboration with novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby, Lonely Avenue is possibly Folds’ best work outside of Ben Folds Five (and speaking of that trio, 2012 did see a very good reunion album by the band titled The Sound of the Life of the Mind).
Best Albums of the 10s So Far
#9 – Ben Folds – Lonely Avenue
When I first learned of 2010’s Lonely Avenue, it sounded too good to be true. Ben Folds, one of my very favorite musical artists, had teamed up with Nick Hornby, one of my very favorite authors.
This is the sort of collaboration you dream up in a fanboy fever dream. I knew Hornby was a fan of Folds (I recall one essay of his about the song ‘Smoke’ that was particularly full of praise) but I had no idea he had aspirations as a lyricist.
#6 – Lonely Avenue – Ben Folds
Ben Folds’ collaboration with novelist Nick Hornby was my favorite album of 2010, and it hasn’t faded a bit in my estimation since.
I love the challenge Folds took on in morphing Hornby’s very literate lyrics into pop songs. As a follow-up to his disappointing solo album Way To Normal, this record was a refreshing return to form.
Author Nick Hornby (one of my favorites) teamed up with Ben Folds (likewise) on the 2010 album Lonely Avenue.
Hornby penned a bevy of powerful, emotional songs — along with some very funny ones — but the one that feels the most familiar to me is ‘Practical Amanda.’
Pandora tells me I like Ben Folds because his music exhibits major key tonality, melodic songwriting and a dynamic male vocalist. That’s how the musical genome project categorizes his music (along with dozens of other attributes they don’t surface, I’m sure). And according to that criteria, I should also like Josh Ritter, Ben Kweller and Death Cab for Cutie.
I don’t know two of those artists and I’m indifferent to the third but I’m sure they do sound something like Ben Folds and probably have some of the same fans. But does my love of Ben Folds necessarily mean that I’ll like people who sound like him? Maybe I like him despite his major key tonality (whatever that means), not because of it.