Posted by Eli Cohen
While author Nick Hornby may not be a household name anymore, his books and film adaptations remain a true testament to growing pains, which has united him with renowned musician Ben Folds in a natural partnership that is apparent in Fold's new album "Lonely Avenue."
"Lonely Avenue" begins with an unusually brief song called "A Working Day." This sub-two minute track starts off as a pump-up song for a salesman. As the song goes on, though, it takes a negative, self-loathing turn that ends with the salesman quitting his job.
"A Working Day" starkly contrasts the hauntingly mesmerizing second track "Picture Window," which tells the tale of a mother who brings her child to the hospital for the last time on New Year's Eve.? From the picture window in the hospital room she can see the fireworks exploding over New York City.?
The chorus of this beautiful song stays with the listener. "You know what hope is?/Hope is a bastard/Hope is a liar/A cheat and tease," conveys perfectly the bitter anger of a mother losing her child too early.? This song is undoubtedly the most complex, best-written song, and has a similar sound to Folds classics such as "Brick" or? "The Luckiest."
Much of the album follows a similar, piano-ballad sound, although there are several exceptions.? Most notably, the only single, "From Above," is a hard-driven song that discusses the notion of people ending up married to the wrong person.
It is clear that the writing is on a higher level than Folds could ever reach, although he is an excellent songwriter.? Inspection of the lyrical symbolism and imagery in the song make it clear why it has been so well received.
The only disappointment comes in a song called "Levi Johnston's Blues," which is sung from the point of view of the now-infamous Johnston, the ex-fiance of Bristol Palin.? The lyrics and rhyme scheme seem contrived and the song feels forced and uninspired.?
"Lonely Avenue" is a must-have.? Those who have not previously enjoyed either Folds or Hornby are likely to change their minds once they hear this album.? Folds delivers great musical choreography and Hornby's lyrics are enough to please any poet.
Eli Cohen is a junior who likes to talk about music.