Song of the Day #3,973: ‘The Ascent of Stan’ – Ben Folds

My top four albums of 2001 are so good that I really could have presented them in any order. I settled on the lineup I did based on a quick dive into each album right here and now, so these rankings reflect my current mood as much as anything.

At #4 is Ben Folds’ first solo album, Rockin’ the Suburbs. Ben Folds Five had split up a year earlier following the release of their third studio album, and this record marked Folds’ shift into what would become a fascinating and successful solo career.

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Song of the Day #1,309: ‘Carrying Cathy’ – Ben Folds

I was all set to write that another previous weekend artist was showing up on Random Weekends, but then I realized Ben Folds hasn’t gotten the weekend treatment (yet).

I guess I just assumed he had because I’ve featured so many of his songs on the blog, including the entirety of his first album with Ben Folds Five.

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Song of the Day #217: ‘Annie Waits’ – Ben Folds

suburbsBen 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.

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Song of the Day #162: ‘The Luckiest’ – Ben Folds

benfolds2I don’t know whether this is more a sign of my insensitivity or my passion for music, but on September 11, 2001, I made a point to hit Best Buy to pick up Ben Folds’ new release Rockin’ the Suburbs (along with Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft). New albums always come out on Tuesdays and when my favorite artists are involved, I always buy them on the day of release. To alter that pattern because of an attack on the homeland would just mean the terrorists had won.

I know a reporter who, on the same morning, suggested he go to Circuit City to interview people watching the horror on the TV bank there just so he could pick up the Dylan album. So at least I’m not alone in my depravity.

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