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Ben Folds

Supersunnyspeedgraphic

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Ben Folds
Supersunnyspeedgraphic
(SonyBMG)
Back in 2003/04, Ben Folds released three internet- and show-only EPs (Super D, Sunny 16 and Speed Graphic) with the promise of an official store release in the future. That time has finally arrived. Folds considers this album his rightful second full-length recording, between Silverman and his great Rockin’ the Suburbs. While this kind of collection—selected tracks from the EPs as well as his collaboration with Bens Kweller and Lee, plus a couple covers—is often little more than a cash grab, coming from an artist like Folds, it’s more of the same awesome. There is no filler here. The anti-hipster anthem “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You” and the ’70s-era Elton Johnish “Learn to Live with What You Are” are traditional Folds bitch-slaps in the vein of “Bastard”—which told blowhards “It’s OK if you don’t know everything”—and are backed by the same driving piano, adventurous percussion and Folds’ high-climbing voice. His ballad version of Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit” is either poignant or ridiculous, depending on your perspective, while “Get Your Hands Off of My Woman” falls without question into the second category (as does The Darkness’s existence), but the song does demostrate Folds’ ample falsetto. One of our best, undervalued songwriters, even his B-sides are better than the average musician’s As.
—Tara Thorne
categories: Coast pick

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