Monday, November 12, 2012

Album Review: "The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind" by Ben Folds Five

Heading over to my in-laws' house, we heard on NPR about Ben Folds Five putting out a new album. My wife was thrilled. She loves the Ben Folds Fellow. Last year, we attended his concert at Powell Symphony Hall with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Though I couldn't count myself among his fans, and he didn't play "The Luckiest" (our wedding song), I really enjoyed the show. Both he and the orchestra turned in spectacular performances. Later that year I  purchased her his three disc retrospective. Now the band is back together with an album of new material and since my wife is a fan and I knew I'd be buying this album too.

Quick thought: If NPR tells you about a good chunk of your music, does that make you a nerd? Moving on. Since the symphonic concert, which was one of the best shows I've seen in some time, I started moving towards Ben Folds fanhood. I can definitely appreciate his quirky and intelligent lyrics, his writing songs on stage, and then recording them, but I'm not a  good Ben Folds fan. I had no idea on the retrospective that it was full of Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds solo tunes. Honestly, I cannot tell the different between the two.

Fraggles FTW!

Turning to "The Sound of the Life of the Mind," I do not share the enthusiasm that I'm sure many do about this record. It seems rare that when a band gets back together that they do more than just a money tour, but they went to the studio to make new music well before touring. I have a lot of respect for that.

This album doesn't feel any different than listening to the body of work they and he have already created. I did like the tightness of the trio. To fill the sound a bit, there are pieces of music added. There are strings, keyboards, and what might have been a guitar solo.

I have only listened to this disc once, but so far, there has not been an "a ha!" moment. Ben Folds has written some wonderful songs that really strike a chord with me. The aforementioned, "The Luckiest" of course, "Effington," and even "Rocking the Suburbs" are songs that I just love, but this album seems to lack one of those songs. By no means is this a poor effort, but aside from the quirky title track, I'm still waiting for this record to grab me or at least show me something to really validate the Ben Folds Five reunion. Perhaps in time, one of these songs will jump out at me.

If you're already a fan, get this record. If you want to join the ranks of the converted get "The Best Imimation of Myself: A Retrospective."

Genre: Modern Rock
Year: 2012
Run time: 44:34
Playlists: Rock, Modern  Rock, Mellowship of the Ring


1. Erase Me
2. Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
3. Sky High
4. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind
5. On Being Frank
6. Draw A Crowd
7. Do It Anyway
8. Hold That Thought
9. Away When You Were Here
10. Thank You For Breaking My Heart


  1. Whatever and Ever Amen was my introduction to the band, but I didn't hear it until probably closer to 2000 when they initially split. I've heard this album and it's very enjoyable. Any band who're friends with Fraggles are OK in my book ;)

    1. I've been trying to get my daughter to love her some Fraggles....but it's just not taking...I'll have to accept her love of Power Rangers, Voltron, Anime, Godzilla, Babymetal, death metal, blues, The Muppets, Scooby Doo, and video games...including 2 of my all time favorites...

      Capcom's Dungeons & Dragons Collection for Sega Saturn and House of the Dead.