Given his 2004 collaboration with William Shatner and his penchant for borderline-novelty tunes ("Army" and "Rockin' the Suburbs"), some might expect Ben Folds's second solo record, SONGS FOR SILVERMAN, to bask in outright silliness. While "Jesusland" contains sparkling moments of unsubtle irony ("beautiful McMansions on a hill"), the tune is actually a piercing, and often quite affectionate, appraisal of American hypocrisy, adorned by sweet melodies and soaring strings. And so it goes with SONGS FOR SILVERMAN, a thoroughly sober album overflowing with the sort of contemplative insight and orchestral, unforgettable pop mastery that Folds fans have come to expect.
Folds's personality pours into every story-song, particularly his tender and wonderfully non-saccharine ode to his daughter, "Gracie." On "Late," his pitch-perfect remembrance to the departed Elliott Smith, his onetime tour-mate, he open-heartedly reflects "Elliott, man, you played a fine guitar and some dirty basketball." When it comes to love, Folds peels the layers off its inherent neuroses like few peers, whether it's resurfacing from an absorbing relationship, as on the stirring single "Landed," or placing a bitter breakup against the unforgiving backdrop of eternity on "Time." SONGS FOR SILVERMAN continues Folds's ascendance towards the upper echelon of pop songwriters.
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Rock
- Released: 3/24/2017