℗ 2008 Sony Music Entertainment
Way to Normal Tracklist:
I love Ben Folds! Ever since I saw him as a judge on The Sing-Off last season, I've been trying to figure out who he was. Then, one day browsing on iTunes, I found the song You Don't Know Me, and now I'm hooked! How can you not smile when listening to that song?!?
I was pretty skeptical to buy this album after reading the reviews, but I had some cash to spend so I took the risk. I found it a little odd, definitely different then the other folds records, but not at all bad. Buy the record as a whole, and give it a listen a couple times through. It grows on you, and well you won't be able to stop singing cologne for a while. Excellent album!
I have been a Ben Folds fan since Ben Folds Five. I have every recording. In my opinion, Ben has to be one of the greatest songwriters in the last 15 years. Like every other Ben Folds fan, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Way To Normal, especially after hearing some of the new songs in concert (Ben Lee was also great that night). I must admit, that after the first listen, I wasn't too sure about this new album. But believe me, it grows on you. Give it another listen, then another. The songs are great. What do you expect, Ben to write Philosophy every time. New Ben Folds fans may want to try Songs For Silverman or Rockin' The Suburbs first, but Way To Normal is just as great of an album.
I have to disagree with any review on here written by anyone who states they've been a fan since BF5 and that this album is a letdown. This album is incredible and if you have any doubt just listen to the Piano Orchestra version of "Cologne" a few times on repeat. A return to the classic tack piano instrumentals. The way he intertwines the music with his lyrical storytelling is flawless.
At first listen, this album was average. Not up to Ben Folds standards. But my second playthrough proved me wrong! This has become one of my favorite Folds CD. So make sure you give it a chance.
Ben Folds is obviously a musical genius and the next Vince Guaraldi, but this album doesn't show it. You don't know me, of course, is a different story. But Naked Baby Photos and Rockin' the Suburbs are much better.
Ben Folds is a musical genious. From his so-called 'grunge for wussies' days of Ben Folds Five, to his two beautiful solo albums ("Rockin' The Suburbs" is my favorite album of all time), he's brought joy to fans of all ages. Now, he gives us "Way To Normal", which is far from Folds' 'normal' standerds. 'Normal' is not what Folds' fans expected. Myself being a fan of his work, I was hoping for a repeat of his 2005 album "Songs For Silverman", that of which showed that Folds' was.......well, aging. And with age come maturity, which Folds' showed in his melodies and lyrics, and made for a breath-takingly beautiful album. Now, with 'Normal', he's trying to be something he's not; young. Take, for instance, 'Dr. Yang', the albums second song. It consists of destortred bass and loud, incoherent drums, and a 44 year olds Folds' screaming at the top of his lungs, his voice cracking insanely. 'Errant Dog' is the same, minus the screaming. Both were terrible tracks, and fell flat, considering the standerds Folds' set with his first two albums. "Silverman" had no loud drums or strong bass lines, just beautiful piano riffs and poetic lyrics. This album has neither. Tracks like "Free Coffee" and "Errant Dog" send a sharp pain through the average listener's ear. Almost every track feels over-produced and thrown together, unlike Folds' past work. But there are a few gems that are worth the iTunes price of nintey-nine cents. 'Kylie From Conneticut' is almost worth buying the entire album. The album's closer, it is the only real Ben Folds song on this album. Others, like 'Hiroshima' and 'The Frown Song' are a bit different, but neat, and are worthy of a listen. 'You Don't Know Me' is also a fun track (I have a weakness for string sections and Reginia Spektor). Even 'Cologne' or 'Effington', though the lyrics weak, are two of the albums better tracks. But, like I said, not the usual Ben Folds. In short, if your new to Folds' music, I strongly suggest picking up a copy of "Rockin' The Suburbs". That's the best thing this North Carolina-native ever put out onto the market place. "Way To Normal" is for the new and daring Folds' fan. People who have followed his career since Five's hayday will be dissapointed by this effort. I know I was. But don't let this album put you against his work. He's still got plenty of good music to give us. His latest demo 'Picture Window' (with lyrics by author Nick Hornby) is floating around the Internet. After a listen, your faith shall be restored. So, thanks Ben. This album might have been a let-down, but at least we know you've still got it.
Not like the old days (5 forever!). I just don't hear quality song writing of previous albums. The best Ben Folds album by far is Ben Folds Live. Just Ben and a piano. It's very vunerable, which I feel is how most fans connect with his work.
I have loved ben Folds from the "Five" up until his solo work i find myself disillusioned with this album, although i do find it an excellent album it lacks some of the sentimental piano rock that made me so enjoy his earlier work while never being sappy, Ben's signature style seems to be somewhat lacking that said there are many amazing songs here and having seen him play this album in concert, i find i enjoy it even more now worth every penny, just dont be expecting many "brick" or "annie waits" style songs here im curious where he will take this tack, looking foreward to future works
Ignore every review where someone has either (a) listened to the album once or (b) didn't like all the "cussing." If you know what Ben Folds is about -- music that rocks, music with some depth, and a little bit of an edge -- then you'll dig this album just as much I do. Give it a shot, don't ask why he swears, and be thankful Ben Folds is still cranking out some awesome albums.
I bought this album the day it came out and I was extremely excited about it. The leadoff track "Hiroshima" is one where you definitely crank up the stereo and sing along. "Cologne" is sufficiently slow, melodic and pleasant to listen to. The last four songs on the album are by far the best, especially "Kylie from Connecticut". If Folds has any hopes of going platinum, it would be wise to make "Kylie from Connecticut" his next single. Having said that, I find "Dr. Yang", "The Frown Song", and "Free Coffee" too techno and pop for my own tastes, hence only a 3 star rating. To each his own I suppose. Buy Way to Normal, it's worth it.
I have become more selective about the music I am buying and believe this album is well worth the money. The lyrics are as insightful as ever and the music is still fresh and original. I'm a little confused by supposed Ben Folds fans asking for edited versions, however. If you are a Ben Folds fan then the "f" word should come as no surprise to you. I believe the foul language is used to shock. That's the point!!!! If it offends you perhaps you are listening to the wrong music.
Stop being so critical and realize how far this man has come in the music industry. This is album is a blend of every genre Ben Folds has become famous for doing. I know songs like Free Coffee or Brainwascht may turn you off. But I really like the synthesizers in Free Coffee because it goes with the new movement in music which is the use of electronics. Free Coffee almost reminds me of a Coldplay song with the heavy use of synthesizers. My favorite songs.... Dr. Yang, Cologne, and Effington. They are masterpeices. This album is epic. DONT STOP LISTENING
Maybe he's just getting older, but as time has gone by, Ben has begun to really lose his smooth singing voice. This album sounds like he's barely hanging on. And I agree, the music is way over-produced sounding.
I couldn't disagree more with the (current) first review. I thought Songs for Silverman was intensely boring, and that this is the exact album that needed to come next. It's fun, jaunty, and has some cool effects. I especially love tracks 1,3,4 and 8, but the whole album is great.
For starters, this album is bomb. There's one, maybe two, not great songs on hear (I say not great, that doesn't mean bad). I will admit it would be a terrible choice for a first time listener, it's like an apisode in the middle of a season of 24. One thing i have realized is that know one wants to give kylie from connecticut any credit. I don't just mean user reviews, but every professional review i read seems to think cologne is the only slow song. Kylie kicks cologne in the balls. He swears a little much, (Get over it)
I am saddened by negative reviews of a very musically meaningful and significant album as this one. People are being tainted by the norm. This album is full of the usual intricate Ben Folds music which gets better and deeper with time. Well worth the purchase they are not all hits but I definatly have fallen in love with it already. Keep rockin ben.
This album, while not perfect, is definitely worth the buy if you're a big Ben Folds fan. I really like the first half of the CD, along with "Kylie from Connecticut" at the end. The rest aren't really that great. If you're a first time Folds listener, I suggest you start with "Rockin' the Suburbs." Folds fans, definitely get this.
In my opinion, Ben Folds' best songs are not on his regular albums, but rather located on b-sides, special collections, and other places. My mix-tape of Ben Folds' best only includes about half of his regular album releases, with the other half being odds and ends. Whether Ben Folds realizes this or not, is a mystery (Paul McCartney, for instance, admitted difficulty in differentiating between great, good, mediocre, and even awful songs). Consider songs like "Bruised," "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You," "The Secret Life of Morgan Davis," "One Down," or "Hiro's Song" (or even "Why Does This Always Happen to Me?"). Great songs, but you have to search for them. That is what makes Ben Folds releases (or at least the last three) puzzling. They seem forced and lack of the spontaneity of his best songs, which seem to flow from him effortlessly. While Ben Folds sleep-walks through his regular albums, his other, less obvious tracks highlight brilliance and a great talent. Maybe if Ben Folds wouldn't try so hard, his albums would be better. Regardless, it is worth sifting through the mediocre songs. After all, Ben Folds has never hit rock bottom and it does not appear he takes himself seriously enough to ever let that happen. And as a once-great talent like Rod Stewart demonstrates, that is a great thing.
I'm glad to see other people mention that they own his past material and that this just ins't up to snuff. I read some of the praise and think maybe I've actually wandered onto a page of reviews from his older albums. I pre-ordered his last album and I'm still feeling the burn. So badly that I'm not willing to take a chance on a purchase of this album and the seeminlgy genuine reviews on this album's page (the low ones) seem to tell me I was right not to get this the day it came out. I may end up getting it just because I hate the idea that I don't know any of his content, but I would like him to know he's headed in the wrong direction somehow.
There is something wonderfully fun about this cd. It's as smart and catchy as anything else Ben Folds has done before - including the Ben Folds Five era. Love the cd, can't stop listening to the cd. Tracks like Effington and You Don't Me are quickly becoming my new favorite Ben Folds tunes! Folds has done a great job of getting better and different without losing any piece of what I loved about his music the first time I heard it.
this album is a typical ben folds album that we all know and love. you need to listen to it a few times, and then next thing you know you have all the words memorized, and the catchy hooks stuck in your head. if you love ben folds you will love way to normal. and if you do not like this album, then you are not a true ben folds fan.
ben folds is amazing, u should buy this cd even if u only like a few of his songs. I only liked a few songs of his and decided to buy this album and loved it, kylie from conneticut is the best song on here, but all the other songs are fun definite buy
I love all of Ben Folds's and Ben Folds Five's albums so I was excited for this but it's very dissapointing. I agree that's it's overproduced. He has shifted from carefully crafted piano melodies to less artful and more average pop songs. If you buy one song, buy The Frown Song. I think that Ben Folds can make a much better album given his enormous talent and I'll be counting on it next time.
I wish there were more songs like "Cologne" and "Kylie from Connecticut". It's not bad but it is not the same type of stuff I fell in love with from "Rockin' the Suburbs" and "Songs for Silverman". There is less piano and more special effects.
Another great album by Ben Folds.I love every song on the album! I heard some of the new songs while at one of his concerts, and they just as great now as they were then! I was very excited for this album to come out! I highly reccommend this album, you won't be disappointed.
It's deffinately a new sound for Ben Folds, but I think it's just as good. I think if anything, "Effington" sounds the most like the old Ben Folds, which is funny because of the context of the song. Overall, I know I will be listening to this album a lot. Good job, Ben :)
As a huge Ben Folds fan ever since the days of the 5 (1994!) you can bet I was pretty flipping excited for this album. Big letdown. Ben Folds' music has gone from heartfelt and piano-centric to unfeeling and over-produced. Since when does Ben Folds need sound effects on every track? Overall, this album felt very immature, especially following Songs for Silverman, with a couple exceptions including 'The Frown Song' and most noteably 'Kylie from Connecticut.' You should buy it, but only if you're really into Ben Folds, and only because it's Ben Folds.
After first listen I'm not too impressed. I own every single ben folds / five album including the ep's. I know every lyric to every song by heart but I don't see myself ever listening to this CD enough to know the lyrics...Maybe it'll grow on me but I'm not counting on it...
I love Ben Folds as an artist and so does my 10 year old daughter, but unfortunately she cant listen many songs on the CD Including "You don't know me" with Regina Spektor because of the "F" word. It could of easily been replaced with maybe the word "Hell" which is more subtle and would not need editing for radio play. Why do artist seem to realize they need to use bad words to express there lyrics? There audience would grow if younger listeners could get a chance to listen also. My daughter loves a variety of music but some artist just tick me off because they seem to realize it would be more "dramatic" using the "F" word. Call me old fashioned, but I believe music can be amazingly all powerful and even more respected when bad words are not used. I love his music and song writing style, but I am rating this only two stars based on the fact he seems to think profanity will improve the songs.
This is another great, original album from Ben Folds. It doesn't sound too much like his previous solo albums, which is a good thing, as it only serves to add more quality to his impressive library. Because of the production and initial abrasive nature of some of the songs, Way To Normal takes maybe a couple listens to really get into it (cause there's just so much good stuff going on it's hard to keep track!), but once you do, you'll never get it out of your head. Songs like Effington, You Don't Know Me, and Kylie From Connecticut are just full to the brim with creativity. Dr. Yang will get your foot tapping, and it's also an impressive showcase of Ben's different vocal talents. Cologne is achingly beautiful. Buy this album, stick with it, and you won't be disappointed.
i have every ben folds and ben folds five album and have seen him several times live. i like his personality and he's written some fun and beautiful music. unfortunately, this album, like the last, was very disappointing - at least upon first listen. i miss the ben folds that sang more about meaningful themes than the novelty of putting rap lyrics to piano. "cologne" is a fantastic, introspective and beautiful song, especially the alternate version, but the album overall seems lackluster and cursory. he can do better.
The new album is sonically amazing. Ben Folds obviously put a lot of thought and care to create an epic album. I was fortunate enough to see him perfom it live in Boston before the release. He played only songs from "Way to Normal" which was exciting to me because I know the older material inside and out so it's definately a breath of fresh air. Highly recommend to all. Favorite song at first glance (not to diminish any of the others!) is "Effington". Love the vocal harmonies! As typical with all Ben Folds release this will change a dozen times before the end of the week! Enjoy and great job Ben!
Another piano laden record featuring fresh funky beats, and catchy choruses from Ben Folds. Some of the highlights from the album include the upbeat and fizzy "You Don't Know Me" featuring Regina Spektor (a wonderful duo). Also, "Cologne", and "The Frown Song" are nice touches to the album. Fans of Ben Folds' previous work will love this newest release, and are in for a sure treat on this album "Way to Normal".
A great album! There are many new and interesting stories and some wonderful experimentation with arrangements and instrumentation that we haven’t heard before on any of Folds' albums. It’s a great next step in the evolution of this artist's career.
Ben Folds has recorded a killer new album. It should be bought and it should praised. Thank you for making another. PEOPLE - buy the deluxe version for a couple extra dollars. It well worth it. Barrington O.