Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ben Folds & Nick Hornby - Together Again

On the just released "Lonely Avenue" ,  musician and producer Ben Folds and writer and critic and scriptwriter Nick Hornby get tpgether for what some term a music-nerd heaven.  There have been some positive reviews (here as well), some not so much, and a noted blogger's lack of appropriate excitement.  The latter needling was intentional in hopes of a posting on his part to suss out the lack of musical sustenance.

Some college kid from some podunk college also makes some derogatory remarks regarding this fine release.  Hey Mr. Decker!  You better be boning up on the lyrics; you will be examined on this for next marking period.

Except for the fact that quite a lot of the 11 songs have radio air-play inappropriate language, thus sinking the possibility of playing the entire album on a (teeny-tiny) radio show I group-d.j., I've been listening to this album with a fat smile pasted on my face.  It's the lyrics.  It's the arrangements.  It's the entire cadeaux.

This isn't the first time Mr. Folds and Mr. Hornby have worked together,  On William Shatner's excellent "Has Been", the Ben Folds produced album features a song, "That's Me Trying", that was a lyrics-by-Hornby,  music-by-Folds collaboration.

I'm hoping to get back here later to fill out the suit of this review.  Suffice it ot say, that I'm a fan.  Production is crystal clear. Folds' voice and interpretation of the clever lines in the songs is dead on.  There is material here for laughing, crying, and even some light "sturm und drang"ing.  The deluxe package includes all of the lyrics plus four short stories by Nick Hornby for those of us in need of a fix since last year's "Juliet, Naked".  The whole package is put together by Nonesuch records, a recording company that just can;t seem to do wrong.  Think of Ry Cooder's deluxe package for "I, Flathead" and you get the idea.

For now, a strong recommendation and I'll be back with more filler.


Nonesuch deserves some sort of award for taking musicians, their product and their paying customers seriously. It's nice to have a card-sized doo-dad that holds 1000 songs, but it's much much nicer to consider the art form as valuable conduit (of ideas, potentialities, spiritualities, what have you).

And I'll express more excitement when I finally get my book/CD ("Usually ships in 1 to 4 weeks") which I paid the full ticket price for.
Don't you wish other companies (as in LARGER ONES) would take the hint from Nonesuch? There's a reason, other than simply crying the blues over downloads, that CD sales are down. Folks expect a bit more for their money than simply a CD case, a CD, and minimal written info. Most larger recording companies don't even bother with printing out lyrics! Nonesuch is the golden standard to be striven for.

On another note (ahem), sorry to hear about the delayed mail. I hope that the wait is worth it for you.....even the accompanying photos with each song are well-placed. Lots of attention to detail, IMHO.
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