Artist: Ben Folds Five
Title: “The Sound of the Life of the Mind”
Format: Digital (Spotify)
“I never thought I’d see this guy again,” says Ben Folds on the exhaustively titled “The Sound of the Life of the Mind.”
It’s a bit of art informing life. “Sound” marks Ben Folds Five’s fourth LP and the first since 1999′s “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.”
It’s hard to get into the same class as the trio of ’90s BFF records, but “Sounds” has its moments. Some tracks such as “On Being Frank” or “Sky High” would’ve felt just as comfortable on a Folds solo platter, which is curious considering drummer Darren Jessee wrote “Sky High.”
The middle of the record is where “Sound” is best. “Draw a Crowd” is vintage BFF, down to the chorus’ immature tell off: “If you’re feeling small and you can’t draw a crowd, draw d—- on the wall.” Those are the kind of jabs that made Folds’ 2008 slab, “Way to Normal,” feel like he hadn’t aged or matured at all.
Still, “Sound” feels the weight of the time lost. “Reinhold Messner” had the promise and grandiosity of an art pop concept record, but “Sound” feels like little more than a smile and a wave to say BFF is back.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.