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Cover Art Ben Folds Five
Ben Folds Five
[Passenger/Caroline]
Rating: 9.6

Ben Folds Five consists of Ben Folds (piano), Robert Sledge (bass), and Darren Jessee (drums), which, if I counted correctly, makes three -- not five. Aside from that minor miscalculation, this is the first great album of the 1996.

The first single, "Underground," is a bizarre mockery of geeky trend-followers ("Hand me my nose ring / Show me the mosh pit"); a post-modern, cabaret-style quirk-disco aftermath. But the highlight of the album comes with "Philosophy," a terribly catchy love song, which, like most of this disc, sounds like early Elton John (I don't know if you remember this, but long before Made In England, Crazy Elton actually had some talent in him) vs. The Carpenters. (George Gershwin refereeing.)

Folds is a musical master, crafting songs that the Bee Gees would kill to pen. At this rate, The 'Five is gonna have a huge "Underground" following and a string of brilliant albums. Don't doubt it. It's the word.

-Ryan Schreiber

Sound Clip:
"Underground"
MPEG-LayerIII
64kpbs.44kHz.
308k.39sec.