Nobody sane of the skull would ever accuse Ben Folds of being a lazy motherfucker, is what The Duke would assume. I doubt he’s ever been stopped in the street and then maybe a fella says about “Hey, Ben Folds, formerly of the Ben Folds Five, what you are is nothing but a lazy bastard, is what you are.”
Who would even bother, since he wouldn’t even have the time to listen to the drunken tirade, most likely?
super d, being the EP what The Duke is preparing for to wax critical regarding, is the third in a trilogy which also includes speed graphic and sunny 16, both of which have shifted somewhere in the region of 50,000 copies via the web-net. super d, though, is the first to be granted a non-digital release, albeit via select independent retailers only, following its #1 placing in a plethora of Download Charts, most notably iTunes and the Billboard variant.
On top of all this activity, Folds has produced and co-written William Shatner’s recent opus, Has Been, not to mention his involvement in side-project The Bens featuring Folds, Ben Lee and the sorely underrated Ben Kweller.
And there’s a full-album scheduled for 2005.
Sit the fuck down and put your feet up for five damn minutes, Ben Folds, would you ever? Folks have had heart-attacks over less.
You’d think all this activity and this relentless torrent of new product might have a fair old impact on the “consistency” and so on, at least in so far as the “quality” is concerned. Like fellow troubadour Ryan Adams, though, Folds simply has more great tunes than he knows what to do with. I imagine the fans prefer this to the inevitable 12 disc box-set which would surely be the only feasible alternative.
Being an EP, super d is a fairly slight affair, with only five songs, two of which are cover versions, and one of which is a live recording. The two cover versions, being Get Your Hands Off My Woman by The Darkness, and Them That Got by Ray Charles, are fairly delightful. The Darkness number in particular is something to be cherished, if only because it gives Folds another opportunity for the high pitched swearing he so enjoys of an occasion.
What with Hayseed Dixie and those folks who did the bluegrass tribute to Metallica, it’s kind of a cliché now, the old “Metal song in non-metal stylee” shtick. This, however, is to ignore the fact that Folds’ version of the falsetto singing sons a bitches anthem is easily as enjoyable, almost as noisy as the original, just as dripping in sweat, with a fella fit to envision the veins rising on the skinny bugger’s neck as he reaches that pivotal “Motherfuuuuckkkkaaaaaaaa”.
The originals, or at least two of them, are even better, though. Adelaide and Rent A Cop are fantastic, both dealing in sing-along pop and brass-driven swing. Adelaide, complete with a bout of Brian Wilson-esque organ caressing post-chorus, is actually fairly close to glorious.
super d isn’t as immediate as, say, most of Ben Folds Five classic Whatever And Ever Amen, but it’s still awash with hook-laden melodies and more than enough opportunities for singing along in a swooning manner at the “concerts” and what have you. And, of course, it’s as lyrically sharp as ever.
“No kid, they don’t give me a gun”, sighs the long-suffering narrator of Rent A Cop, “I don’t get paid enough to run / you can call me what you want / I’ll be hanging at the check-out, checking out your girlfriend / Tryin’ to figure out how she’s gonna fit all of that butt into her underwear.”
Folds has become something of the poet laureate for that bunch of baggy-trousered malcontents known collectively as “Slackers”, and should they ever bother themselves to take the damn disc out of the case, they’ll find that he’s still producing the kinda stuff that’ll have them grinning like motherfuckers, at least when they think no-one’s looking.
Or, like, whatever, motherfucker.
Ben Folds will be appearing at the following venues in the next few weeks;
October 21 – Los Angeles, CA – El Ray Theatre
October 22 – Los Angeles, CA – El Ray Theatre
November 6 – Bowling Green, OH – Bowling Green St. U., Anderson Arena
November 7 – Carlisle, PA – Dickinson College, Anita Tuvin
The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando