Way to Normal

Studio Album by released in 2008
Way to Normal's tracklist:
Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)
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Dr. Yang
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The Frown Song
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You Don't Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor)
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Before Cologne
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Cologne
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Errant Dog
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Free Coffee
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Bitch Went Nuts
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Brainwascht
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Effington
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Kylie From Connecticut
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Way to Normal review

A talented pianist, songwriter and composer Ben Folds

Effervescent humor, sarcasm, irony, an unembellished events description, the most sincere feelings and no limits in words choice – all of it can be found in the music of a unique artist named Ben Folds. An acknowledged master of playing the piano, a talented songwriter and composer, he has been pleasing the fans of a feel-good pop rock as a solo performing artist for already for a decade after his band Ben Folds Five ceased to exist. Certainly Folds feels quite comfortable in this status today and it is worth while saying that he takes the ideas for the new material from real life so he never has problems concerning what to write about. This autumn the singer presents us with his seventh studio album Way To Normal partially symbolizing his return to an earlier period of his creative work when he was even tougher in his judgments and also taking the atmosphere of the previous works, 2005’s Songs For Silverman and the 2006 record Supersunnyspeedgraphic: The LP. Yet if before he sang about his children, friends and age, today he shares some of his ideas concerning love and living together.

Provocative texts about relationships on Way To Normal

Twelve different compositions on Way To Normal are devoted to the theme of difficult, failed or just normal relationships and are mostly characterized by quite provocative texts. The album opens with a contagious song Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head) with a sing-along chorus and lyrics that makes it clear from the very beginning: we are dealing with one of the most direct performers of the present days. A more up-tempo song Dr. Yang pleases with a complicated tune and a humorous text. There is somewhat different attitude on track The Frown Song, more serious and even a bit worrisome whereas one of the record’s highlights is a duet with Regina Spektor You Don't Know Me with a most interesting melody and a splendid play of two vocal parts speaking about most of the couples knowing little of each other. An introductory Before Cologne and the song itself Cologne about the ending of a relationship are certainly successful numbers with a wonderful instrumental background on which the piano is dominating but by no means oppressing neither fiddles nor guitars. One of the heaviest pieces is Errant Dog getting maximum close to rock and here Folds’ piano is really shining while an up-tempo track Bitch Went Nuts abundant with unprintable vocabulary and a melodious and joyful Brainwascht are also among the album leaders. The closer is a slow composition Kylie From Connecticut, lyrical and thoughtful and full of pleasant reminiscences and a slight ironic flavor.

Each piano chord is given a certain sense

There probably aren’t many artists ready to compete with Ben Folds in his ability to speak of the relationships in such a bold and direct way. Using properly their negative and most unpleasant moments as the basic topic he is not afraid to call a spade a spade. Besides Ben also sings of other life problems also not trying to hide anything and disguise troubles under the veil romanticism or philosophy. Record Way To Normal definitely proves to be a step forward in the respect of the instrumentation in which there have appeared more guitar hooks and more expressive drums, though undoubtedly piano remains the instrument Folds uses to speak to the listener giving a certain sense to every single chord. As on his other works the artist has succeeded once again to bring lyrics and melodies to a harmony but still there is too much of cynicism and negative emotions on Way To Normal, which could rather be expected from a performer of a less mature age – Ben has recently celebrated his 42nd birthday. Perhaps he sticks to a more optimist approach on his next creation but even if he does not his music cannot but please.