Monday, March 8, 2010

Reasons to Be Cheerful 007

Picture Window. That is, evidently, the name of the new Ben Folds album, set for release later this year. After the dismal Way to Normal, which has steadfastly refused to grow on me after nearly two years, why am I excited about a new Ben Folds record?

A couple of reasons. For one, this album is a collaboration with author Nick Hornby, who wrote all the lyrics. Much as I was turned off by the simplistic music of Normal, it was the thrown-together-in-an-afternoon quality of the lyrics that killed that record stone dead for me, so Folds working with a lyricist makes me happy. And not just any lyricist, but one of rare wit and intelligence - Hornby's books are hilarious and moving things, and his screenplay for An Education showed a sense of nuance and humanity even without the smirking. Hornby's awesome, and this collaboration should be wonderful.

And then there's the tracklist, confirmed by Folds a couple of weeks ago. Sure, there are songs with titles like "Levi Johnston's Blues," but some of them, like "Practical Amanda," sound like classic Folds. Best of all, it looks like Hornby has been missing the same things I have in Folds' recent work: the storytelling, and the characters. Six of the 11 songs feature names in the titles. It's like Rockin' the Suburbs all over again.

So yeah, I'm ready for a good Ben Folds record again, and I think this might be it. We'll see. There's no release date for Picture Window yet, but whenever it rears its head, I'll be waiting.

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