I’ve been long enamoured with the music of Ben Folds since as long as I can remember. His songs have followed me through most of my adult life; they resonate across years with only the faintest of effort. His style is both grand and melancholy in the same moment, great expansive songs that at the same time focus in on the business of life and living with stunning clarity and fingerprint detail.
I’m also a longtime fan of novelist Nick Hornby, mainly for High Fidelity. There are some works that inspire moments of great clarity, and High Fidelity was one of them. It was like looking in a mirror, watching someone else play out pieces of my life, think my thoughts, reach my conclusions. It’s a stunning book for all of us who never quite got the hang of being in love, not to mention a brilliant read for music snobs.
So when I found out Ben Folds and Nick Hornby had collaborated on a new album called Lonely Avenue, I was in. I didn’t even have to think twice; they could have run around setting fire to kittens and I’d at least watch the commercial for it. Fortunately it’s not as gruesome as that, but on some levels it may as well be; the songs are honest to a fault, and the lyrics are sharp enough to open a vein or slice off your nose to spite your face. Folks, get this album. If you’re a fan of either of these gentlemen, or if you have a love for smart songs with flowing arrangements, you’re gonna love this.
Here’s the first song I’ve heard from the album, “Picture Window.” Give it a listen.