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.
Best Songs of 2010 – #1
It’s probably not a surprise that my number one song of the year comes from my number one album, Lonely Avenue, the collaboration between Ben Folds and novelist Nick Hornby.
This meeting of the minds of two of my very favorite artists in their respective genres was destined to make me happy, but it wound up surpassing my expectations.
Folds composed his most consistent and enjoyable batch of tunes in years and Hornby delivered a dozen character sketches that dive deeper than the average pop song has a right to.
In all my years of listening to music, I don’t believe I’ve ever been presented with as tantalizing a collaboration as Lonely Avenue, the new album featuring lyrics by novelist Nick Hornby set to music by Ben Folds.
Collaborations within a single genre are common, but to have my favorite writer combine forces with one of my favorite musicians… talk about an unexpected delight.
Hornby has long been a fan of Folds’ work (I remember reading his essays about Ben Folds Five back in the Whatever and Ever Amen days) and that appreciation turned into a friendship, which led to an email correspondence that evolved into the partnership we now get to hear fully realized.