Singer/songwriter Ben Folds is one of pop’s most definitive artists, all the multiplatinum sales simply aren’t enough to express his deep well of talent, for Folds it’s all in the music. Not accustomed to bragging about his albums, his new record So There has been said to be one of his finest; it’s a collection of chamber rock songs written and recorded in collaboration with yMusic, one of New York’s most celebrated chamber music ensembles. In a world littered with generic pop tunes dominating the charts, it should be refreshing to hear two worlds collide when classical meets Ben Folds.
Flourishing flurries of flutes, soothing yet edgy strokes of violins and a punchy piano line makes album opener Capable Of Anything the perfect introduction; combine those elements with the familiar tone of Ben Folds’ vocals and his lyrical ingenuity, and you have a masterpiece. Lead single Phone In A Pool is more on the upbeat side, but Ben Folds’ unique style with and intriguing arrangement and melody. The quieter and smoother tracks are indulgent too, particularly Not A Fan and Yes Man; I’m Not The Man was originally written for acting legend Al Pacino to sing in 2015 film Danny Colins, but it was instantly rejected, at least we still get to hear it! Fans are also treated to all three movements of Ben and the Nashville Symphony’s Concerto For Piano and Orchestra, just another insight into his musical genius.
Ben Folds does not disappoint here, So There keeps the doors wide open for classical music to coexist with pop/rock; keeping in mind that Folds’ take on pop doesn’t really follow the same formula as the mainstream, but that’s why you appreciate his work. Once again Ben has won you over with his emotive arrangements and witty and quirky lyrics, plus his collaboration with yMusic was a pleasure. So There was so well put together, fans should click ‘repeat’ without hesitation.