Punknews.org
Ben Folds - Songs For Silverman (Cover Artwork)

Ben Folds

Ben Folds: Songs For SilvermanSongs For Silverman (2005)
Sony Music Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: LostInTheCrowd13LostInTheCrowd13
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Do you remember MTV's "Celebrity Death Match?" I do. I always wanted to see the original "Piano Man," Billy Joel, take on the Piano Man of our generation, Ben Folds. I think Folds could take him. It would be easy with Joel's ever-growing problems with alcohol. You probably thought this was leading .
iTunes StoreAmazon


Do you remember MTV's "Celebrity Death Match?" I do. I always wanted to see the original "Piano Man," Billy Joel, take on the Piano Man of our generation, Ben Folds. I think Folds could take him. It would be easy with Joel's ever-growing problems with alcohol. You probably thought this was leading somewhere; well, sadly it is not. So with that being said, I introduce to you, Ben Folds' newest album, Songs For Silverman.

Songs For Silverman was recorded in a six-week period in Nashville and will serve as the followup to 2001's Rockin' The Suburbs. Songs For Silverman kicks off with the song "Bastard," a song about growing old. The song is a "Why are you in a hurry to grow up?" kind of song. Folds sings about growing old to fit into a corporate world, only to look back and wish you could be young again. The part of the song that seems to stick out the most are the lyrics "Pretty soon you'll be an old bastard too." "You To Thank" seems to be an attempt at a pub song but falls a little flat. The song has its bright spots at the choruses where Folds sings "I've got you to thank for this" with the piano playing quickly in the background.

"Gracie" is a song dedicated to his daughter. The song is piano-driven but has some strings in it as well. The song starts "You can't fool me, I saw you when you came out", which brings to mind some imagery that one might want to forget. The song goes on with Folds explaining to his daughter all the hopes and desires he has for her in life. He sings towards the end of the song "One day you're gonna wanna go. I hope we taught you everything you need to know." "Late" is the song Folds wrote to the late artist Elliott Smith, which is the most powerful song on the album. Folds sings about all the places they saw on the road, the bars and places they've played, then gets to the lyrics "You saw them too but you never will again...it's too late." He continues on as a friend, and then as a fan when he sings "The songs you wrote got me through a lot. Just wanna tell you that."

The only song that doesn't grab me was the song "Give Judy My Notice." This song appeared on the Speed Graphic EP and was reworked for the new album. Reworking the song did not help and once again it fell flat on its face.

Throughout Folds' career his music has been constant but he has always grown from album to album, and this album is no different. Folds has taken on growing up, becoming a parent and losing a dear friend in Songs For Silverman. Once again, Folds has taken trials and tribulations from his own life and made them relate to everyone.

Songs For Silverman E-Card

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
At The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandNOFX - The DeclineNo Use For a Name - Hard Rock BottomCatch 22 - Keasbey NightsBad Religion - SufferWeezer - PinkertonRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeRx Bandits - ...And the Battle BegunFoo Fighters - The Colour and the ShapeRx Bandits - Progress

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

i dont care what song it is... as long as its ben folds
i love it all

Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

does anyone no a ben folds song that is about alcohol?

Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

the last 3 comments are mine by the way
ben folds wooo

Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

in english at school we have to do a project on our heroes...
and guess who i chose
BEN FOLDS
and in health we had to chose a song that has lyrics to do with alcohol (my heath teacher is weired!! ) and i really wan to do a song of ben folds
does anyone here no a song of ben folds that has lyrcs to do with alcohol in it
please help
the assignment is do next friday

Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

if i was old enough i would marry him, but im only 14
ben folds rox my lil sox off
xoxoxoxox

Anonymous (May 17, 2006)

ben folds is the best i love him so much

Anonymous (July 26, 2005)

I absoltuely loved this album.. no on ehas said it y et, but i really, really like the song Landed, i don't know why everyone else doesn't like it. i think that especailly near the end, it feels very full. i also like the songs late, gracie, and bastard a lot. basically.. i like al of the songs. it's different, and awesome.

but my favorite part of all the songs on this cd is the intro to landed. i just HAD to learn to play it on the piano myself, and so i did :)

TheOtherIvan (July 14, 2005)

I think Jesusland is the best song on this album. It's about if Jesus came back to life and saw how people use his name and exploit the Bible for wrong things (like fear-mongering and political-propaganda spouting) and how he would no doubt be disapointed. It's a hilarious song, and an amazing album.

Anonymous (May 8, 2005)

this is punknews.org right????

prankish (May 5, 2005)

I'm a huge fan of Ben's. I discovered Whatever and Ever Amen in highschool and it proved to be one of my favorite albums. Coincidentally, Elliott Smith's XO takes my #1 spot, and he pays tribute to Elliott on this album. I had no idea the two of them were acquaintances, and from a personal standpoint the album is worth the price of that song alone.

Like all of Ben's albums, there's a track or two that throws off the tempo of the album, but they still stand up as great songs when listened to on their own. Honestly, this is only because of Ben's ability to write very contrasting songs, both in subject and style.

notfeelingcreative (May 5, 2005)

1. Billy Joel
2. Tori Amos
3. Elton John
4. Ben Folds

You are a blasphemer for leaving Randy Newman off that list.

Yeah, but my girlfriend is quite short, and the idea that she got no reason to live disturbs me! Also, having never visited L.A., I am unsure as to whether or not it should be loved.

Anonymous (May 5, 2005)

"Yeah, I'll say. I saw this on the review list and blindly went out to buy it expecting crusty thrash. Oops! "

Well, don't be a follower and just grab what ever you think someone else is interested.

Anyways, Ben Folds = Fantastic. I loved Suburbs and I certainly can't wait to add Silverman to my collection. Folds is an unbelievable writer and player. He has more talent than probably all of us combined do.

Silverman was only a bit disappointing because of how overall reminiscent the album was... I still love it though.

--- Camber

Anonymous (May 5, 2005)

Oh no, RKL is gonna kill me with his US Bombs albums.

Anonymous (May 5, 2005)

this has nada to do with ben folds, but why does this site actually post news from punk roock. do people actually listen to bands like us bombs and the union label group? if so, those bitches outta get away from that shit. RUN FOR THE HILLS!
SERIOUSLY FUCK THAT SHIT SERIOUSLY NOW FUCK
oh yeah, fuck ben folds too

FreddieFreeloader (May 4, 2005)

"Late" is a really sad song.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

Officer Friendly's little boy's got a mohawk!

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

calling a ben folds song piano driven is like calling a Yngwie Malmstien song guitar driven.

PS - ben folds rocks my nuts off.

xblakeyoung (May 4, 2005)

and there is no way that Folds can take Billy Joel.

xblakeyoung (May 4, 2005)

this album should of been better for how long we had to wait for it. but i still enjoy it a lot.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

Haha Randy Newman, just sits there singing about what he sees...

"Fat man with his kids and dog, drove in through the morning fog, hey there Rover, come on over". Genius.

Joe

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

"Ben Folds greater than Billy Joel? What are you kids, fucking reatarded?"

I know, thats fuckind ridiculous. As far as singer/songwriters with pianos:

1. Billy Joel
2. Tori Amos
3. Elton John
4. Ben Folds

You are a blasphemer for leaving Randy Newman off that list.

rkl (May 4, 2005)

in response to the comment 2 comments below this one. yeah, i love generic macho hardcore. because you know thats what rkl is. either get a clue, or shut the fuck up.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

Ben Folds' music is too boring.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

RKL likes generic macho hardcore .

rkl (May 4, 2005)

if you haven't at least given ben folds a chance until now, chances are, you listen to a lot really really bad music.

this is undoubtedly the most idiotic comment ive ever seen posted on punknews.org, and that includes any comments made in the (not-so)great sxe band threads.

maybe youre not aware, but the name of this site is punknews.org, meaning that a lot of people on this site are going to listen to, lo & behold, punk.(stunning, ain't it?)
piano driven rock isnt for everyone, and for those who like their music loud, fast, and aggressive, after hearing ben folds(five) single "brick," can you really blame people for not giving him a chance?

lyrics like "shes a brick and im drowning slowly" make me want to put a brick through my stereo. i do enough moping at work without listening to shit like that.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

"For the person who posted two down who said this album was kind of boring you could check out Whatever and Ever Amen. That might be more what you're looking for."

Thank you, I will if I get the chance.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

" "This was my first record by Ben Folds and I am a little disappointed there was only 3-4 songs that I liked, maybe someone who has heard all his records can recommend some other of his that´s better?(and faster/funnier cause this one was kinda boring)"

first of all, you're an idiot. if you haven't at least given ben folds a chance until now, chances are, you listen to a lot really really bad music.

secondly, faster? funnier? what the fuck is this, a south park musical? its a guy with a piano, writing honest lyrics that you wish you could write. if you want funny, go buy a mitch hedberg cd. if you want faster, go listen to bad religion.

shut up."

Well,for 1 I live in Sweden Ben Folds is not very well known here.I just heard about him 2-3 months ago.
2.Why is it that just because I haven´t heard about Ben Folds you assume that I listen to bad music?Bands I listen to:The Weakerthans, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash, Pixies, Billy Bragg etc what do you listen to that is soooo much better than what I listen to, please tell me.
3.Yes i thought that this record would be funnier/faster that´s the impression I got when I read some reviews about his earlier records maybe they are all like this one in wich case I won´t be buying any more of his records.( If I would have had the chance to buy some of his older records I would´ve but this was the only one they had in the store)
4.Calling people idiot and to tell them to shut up really just shows how mature you are.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

" The song starts "You can't fool me, I saw you when you came out", which brings to mind some imagery that one might want to forget."

am i the only one who didn't take this as a birth reference? the song is about the childish innocence/mischief of his little girl, and this sound more to me like her sneaking around behind daddy's back.

burntorangepeel (May 4, 2005)

Another great interview with him in this week's Onion.

http://mobile.theonion.com/av_feature1.html

He talks a little about his punk-club touring days.

wannabepunktony (May 4, 2005)

This is another great album from Ben Folds, even if this one is much more sentimental than his earlier releases. Hell, there is no rocking of any kind on this album, not even the suburbs.

But who gives a shit when the man can write and sing some of the best stripped down "rock" out there.

And "Give Judy My Notice" is one of the catchier tracks of the disc, and hardly falls flat. The single, "Landed," is the flatest of the tracks to me so far.

Ben might not be punk, but by reading any review on this site, regardless of what band it is, no one is punk, so thanks for the review/

TheMarc (May 3, 2005)

Whoever provided that link to that article: thank you. That was an excellently written piece.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

ben folds is such an underappreciated talent. sure a lot of people are a fan of his, but he should be spoken in the same breath as people like billy joel. his songs tell stories, have some beautiful words and melodies, and paint a vivid picture. true art.

rockin the suburbs was a better disc (zak and sara, the luckiest, fred jones part 2) but this disc is certianly not disappointing. the amount of quality songs he has penned is staggering...

anyone who says "this isn't punk" is a dope. so what that the music isn't punk. ben is pretty badass whenit comes to his approach to music.

kevTV / under the volcano

muskawo_ (May 3, 2005)

I can never decide if I really like or really hate Ben Folds. He's kinda irritating, though catchy.

Billy Joel wins for old school cred, though. Three days across the country in the back of a car with nothing but beatles and billy joel tapes would brainwash any 8 year old. 3 days of ben foldswould make me want to shoot someone.

gladimnotemo (May 3, 2005)

This is bullshit piano rock for hipsters too afraid to steal their parents' Billy Joel records.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

"not punk"

Yeah, I'll say. I saw this on the review list and blindly went out to buy it expecting crusty thrash. Oops!

-BSD

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

score is for paste magazine mention a few comments down.

paste magazine is the best magazine you've never read.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

"This was my first record by Ben Folds and I am a little disappointed there was only 3-4 songs that I liked, maybe someone who has heard all his records can recommend some other of his that´s better?(and faster/funnier cause this one was kinda boring)"

first of all, you're an idiot. if you haven't at least given ben folds a chance until now, chances are, you listen to a lot really really bad music.

secondly, faster? funnier? what the fuck is this, a south park musical? its a guy with a piano, writing honest lyrics that you wish you could write. if you want funny, go buy a mitch hedberg cd. if you want faster, go listen to bad religion.

shut up.

burntorangepeel (May 3, 2005)

Back in when they started, Ben Folds Five described themselves as "punk rock for sissies." Anyway, the album's really good, like all of his stuff. but with a more somber feel (for the first time, there's no outright goofy song). More consistent than Rockin' the Suburbs (and better production). Some really great lyrics.
He's been getting more socially-conscious lately... see "All U Can Eat" from the EPs, and "Jesusland off of this one.

As far as who'd win between Ben and Billy Joel, it'd be Ben hands down. He can flip a grand piano (see the interview in the new Paste magazine. http://www.pastemagazine.com/action/article?article_id=1607)

boba_fett (May 3, 2005)

ben folds has some coolness factor involved in his quality.

istapledmyfoot (May 3, 2005)

This has been said.. but yeah this review was pretty bad. To the reviewer, you're right, going through every song in a review is a shitty way to go about things but only because it doesn't give a general view of the album. This review didn't have a general view of the album either, it just talked about less songs. Though I think most of the readers here have passing knowledge of the works of Ben Folds you really need to describe what it sounds like.

lostinthecrowd13 (May 3, 2005)

For the person who posted two down who said this album was kind of boring you could check out Whatever and Ever Amen. That might be more what you're looking for.

lostinthecrowd13 (May 3, 2005)

"Not the best review, you only really reviewed half the album."

This is only like the fifth review I've ever written so I'm still learning. As far as reviewing only half the album I just reviewed the songs I thought were the strongest. I think reviewing a whole album song by song can become boring to read but maybe I'm wrong. Thanks to everybody who had constructive criticism about the review.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

This was my first record by Ben Folds and I am a little disappointed there was only 3-4 songs that I liked, maybe someone who has heard all his records can recommend some other of his that´s better?(and faster/funnier cause this one was kinda boring)

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

i just looked at the liner notes for this cd, and weird al sings back ups on one song! guess maybe i'll actually listen to this thing...

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

not punk

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

also, Mangum is about 35- 40 years old. that would be Gen X.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

oops...there should be no question mark after "Neutral Milk Hotel broke up before you graduated from high school"

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Jeff Mangum is Generation Y's singer/songwriter???? Neutral Milk Hotel broke up before you graduated from high school? What the fuck are you talking about? J.M./NMH has nothing to do with Gen Y. Sorry, suckas.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Ben Folds is, and will always be far superior to anything any of you will ever listen to.

Ever.

Good day.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

billy joel fucking sucks. i cant wait until he drives his car off of montauk and drowns.

ubershep (May 3, 2005)

Ben Folds has nothing to do with this generation. This is generation Y, he's generation X. Christ, even Conor Oberst has better song composition than him.

Jeff Mangum is Generation Y's singer/songwriter.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

the album cover alone is worth it.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

I'm going to go on a limb and call Ben Folds our generation's best songwriter. Yes, this record is different, and is a little short on the signature sarcasm and humor, but the songs are still incredibly honest and effective and amazing as always.

With all the nostalgia-trends going around these days, it's refreshing that someone is tapping the resources of actual good songwriters in their music. Folds, and "Songs for Silverman" in particular, has shades of Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Elvis Costello while still sounding remarkably Ben Folds.

-duped

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Ben Folds is a great singer-songwriter but he is not punk in any way, shape of form. This remains a decent album, but is clearly his most downbeat and least challenging effort. Lyrically, his story telling skills have been ignored in favour of more intimate topics

Also, the review is bad - talking about the lyrics is all well and good, but only talking about lyrics is pathetic unless you're dealing with something like Nick Cave's 'Murder Ballads'.

notfeelingcreative (May 3, 2005)

"Ben Folds greater than Billy Joel? What are you kids, fucking reatarded?"

I know, thats fuckind ridiculous. As far as singer/songwriters with pianos:

1. Billy Joel
2. Tori Amos
3. Elton John
4. Ben Folds

kirbypuckett (May 3, 2005)

The extra large photo/lyric case that this record comes in is beautiful.

I still haven't formed a solid opinion on the album yet though.

- Kirby

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

ben folds five was way better.

but the darkness cover is THE shit.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

wtf?

sickboi (May 3, 2005)

Ben Folds greater than Billy Joel? What are you kids, fucking reatarded?

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

ben fucking folds? wow.
-TOBB

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

I like his cover of Dr Dre's "Bitches Aint Shit"

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

I've loved every Ben Folds release up until this plate of trash. I am VERY disappointed! The liner notes suggest his wife had a lot to do with this album, BIG MISTAKE! Dump her Ben (& don't forget your black t-shirt).

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Not the best review, you only really reviewed half the album. And the EP version of Give Judy My Notice was amazing.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

score is for the review.

this review tells me nothing about the cd, and if i had any common sense and didn't already have the record, i would refuse to buy it simply to protest your shitty review.

for those wondering, this cd is absolutely incredible, start to finish. e very song shines in a different light, and the ellion smith tribute is worth the cd price alone. the song about his daughter is just fantastic, with lines such as "you can't fool me, i saw you when you came out - you've got your momma's taste but you got my mouth." just awesome.

this record is worth buying, no matter what type of music you listen to. its one of my favorite ben cd's, and so far, it tops my favorite records of 2005.

and for the record, folds could kick joel's ass. hands down. alcoholic or not.

ubershep (May 3, 2005)

Jeff Mangum is about ten years younger and at least ten times better that this talentless hack.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Dont be an ass dood, billy joel used to be a boxer, maybe now Ben would beat him cuz he's an old drunk, but in his prime billy kicked ass. What you should have talked about is how and why ben folds should have opened the billy joel/elton john bill rather than doing a triple tour and opening for guster and rufus wainwright.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Ben Folds > Billy Joel

captaincrunch (May 3, 2005)

Stellar

Its somewhat of a throwback to the days of Ben Folds Five. Great albom.

Imposs1ble (May 3, 2005)

This review doesn't say too much about the album. Check it out, even if it's just for the Elliott Smith tribute. Plus, I totally disagree with the "Judy" knocking.

XmeepX (May 3, 2005)

and also, to anyone who doesn't have ben folds five albums, you should go out and buy them, that's all.

www.myspace.com/blacktiebombers
www.blacktiebombers.com

XmeepX (May 3, 2005)

yeah this album isn't amazing, but good, and solid. and i like the cover which seems to be totally mocking the myspace generation.

TheMarc (May 3, 2005)

Even a subpar Ben Folds album kills.

ubershep (May 3, 2005)

my god, do i hate this man

anarchaeologist (May 3, 2005)

I'm glad to see this site is not compromising itself.

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


The Fest 13

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go