label: epic 550 music
our score: 2.5 out of 5.0
Folds has stainless steel balls. In fact, anyone who would release
an album like this must. The fact that it is given to us by Ben
Folds (of Ben Folds Five) is the major kick though. What do you
think of when you hear that name? Piano rock? "Brick"?
Well whatever you think of, it will never prepare you for this
decided it was time to try something different. Maybe do a little
side project where he could let his artistic side shine through.
Over the last year he has been putting down tracks and ideas for
this album, an album which has not received much attention by
the media. The way Ben puts it, "Once you've sold a million
records, you've earned the right to experiment self-indulgently
at the expense of your record company... I guess I haven't earned
that right yet... But they let me do it anyway and we all actually
agree now that it wasn't a total waste of time." Here is
a quick idea of what he did in that spare time, and what you can
expect from the leader of "punk rock for sissies."
album opens with the title track. "Fear of Pop" is a
fairly hard-rocking song, with little vocals other than "fear
of pop" yelled over and over incessantly by Ben himself.
Most people think the song is annoying as hell, but after a few
listens it begins to grow on you. "Kops" is a great
play on 70s cop shows, with a great funk track laid over a car
chase recording. The most notable track by far is "In Love"
which features William Shatner (yes kids, Captain Kirk) on lead
vocals, with Ben on backup. Other songs of interest include "Interlude,"
which although only 21 seconds long, is a perfect contrast to
the rest of the album - an interlude if I have ever heard one.
It has an older waltz sound with "1 - 2 - 3, 2 - 2 - 3"
etc being sung over the top. "Avery M Powers Memorial Beltway"
has an interesting bassline, with a repeated vocal sample stuck
in every here and there. The other tracks on the cd visit this
unconventional method of music production, varying slightly here
am truly at a loss to point out the main difference between this
and Ben's earlier work, as there is basically no similarities.
Ben went all out avante-garde style. The music is highly original,
and the vocal styles are out there as well. Most of it is spoken
word, with very little sung except for the parts by William Shatner
(if you can call that singing). A lot of people will be put off
by this music, so the title does fit well, as this will NEVER
be pop. If you are in the mood to hear something totally different,
check out this album.
liked Fear of Pop...
Fear of Pop
3. Slow Jam '98
5. In Love
7. Avery M. Powers Memorial Beltway
8. I Paid My Money
9. Rubber Sled
10. Root to This
11. Still in Love