Naked Baby Photos

Ben Folds Five:
Naked Baby Photos

Rating: 5.0
This just seems like a surfboard for the Ben Folds Five's recent wave of popularity. A package of early singles, b-sides, LP outtakes, soundcheck doodlings, and live performances, Naked Baby Photos can be neatly filed under the "For Diehard Fans Only" category. The band throw in the expected-- toe tapping piano/ bass/ drum pop with goofball wallflower lyrics-- with the better- kept, unexpected rap/ metal/ punk, and general tomfoolery. The studio recordings and LP outtakes are on par with the two albums proper, and the cover of Built to Spill's "Twin Falls" is a beautiful reproduction. But for the rest, well, there's a reason they call in- the- basement experimentation "in- the- basement experimentation." Would have worked much better as an EP... or at least at an EP price.

- Brent Dicrescenzo, December 31, 1999