Ben Folds Message Board - thesuburbs.org.uk

General => Album Board => Topic started by: bENFOLDS on September 24, 2008, 08:20:21 AM

Title: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: bENFOLDS on September 24, 2008, 08:20:21 AM
Okay, apologies if there's already a similar thread. And double apologies to those utlra-loyal among us who must be hating all this talk about the album before they've even heard it. Anyway, I thought it'd be cool if we gave each song a rating out of 10 and a couple of comments.
I'll start:

Hiroshima - 6.75/10 - pretty cheesy stuff, what with the audience - it reminds me of bad artists who use audience cheering sounds to tell idiots "Look, we're popular! Like us or be left out". Of course, Folds isn't one of those artists and that isn't the desired effect at all, but I'm sure lots of people will think that if the song is ever released. On the positive side, it's pretty catchy (especially "You wanna know what's in my head) and it refuses to be conventional.

Dr Yang - 9/10 - I love the way this track sounds, it's totally unexpected and it reminds me of "Sports and Wine". It'd make a suitable next single.

The Frown Song - 8/10 - Another surprising sound, and again it's great. Great chorus.

You Don't Know Me - 9/10 - We've all had plenty of time to make up our mind on this one and I love it. Ben Folds and this Regina Spektor woman sing together really smoothly and really well.

Before Cologne - it's practically the beginning of Cologne so I won't give it it's own rating.

Cologne - 9.5/10 - my favourite track on the album. It's that raw emotion, the kind that has always been Folds' strongest skill. Very good stuff, and it takes a great artist like Folds to have already topped it with Evaporated, but nonetheless superb.

Errant Dog - 7/10 - not really digging the sound yet, but I'm sure it'll grow on me - loving the thumping beat

Free Coffee - 8/10 - really interesting, unique sound straight away, allows us to focus on Folds' lyrics and voice

Bitch Went Nuts - 8/10 - pretty hilarious stuff!

Brainwashed - 8/10 - again, a really great beat though you can't help feel that it's an argument that shouldn't really involve us! Catchy, though!

Effington - 7.25/10 - this track beats along like a train, doesn't it? Very likeable.

Kylie from Connecticut - 8/10 - if it weren't for Cologne, this would be the bare soul of the album. Great stuff.

Overall, at first listen this might seem like Supersunnyspeedgraphic 2, or Naked Baby Photos 3 - a random collection of songs, mostly guilty pleasures - but with every further listen I'm seeing more and more that this has a sadness all the way through, mostly hidden but clear in Cologne and Kylie. Even if the sounds of the songs vary wildly, there's good continuity all the way through. I'd put this right in the middle between Silverman and Suburbs at 9/10.

Your turn!
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating
Post by: BrianLev on September 24, 2008, 10:14:47 AM
1. "Hiroshima" - 7/10 - It's a good song. I was very disappointed when I thought it was the first single because it just didn't strike me as single material. But as NOT a single, I think it's a cool album track. Very catchy.

2. "Dr. Yang" - 8/10 - While trying not to compare any real versions to "fake" versions, I am a bit more drawn to the alternate cut. However, this song is really good and I like the lyrical topic. A theme that you'll notice in my comments is that, lyrically, I think this is his strongest album since RTS.

3. "The Frown Song" - 8/10 - While I was skeptical about it based superficially on just the title (I thought lyrically it'd turn out like its fake counterpart which I must admit is the one new track, real or fake, that I'm not into), this song again is about a subject that I think is a great one and done well. Musically it's really cool too. A great lesson of to not judge a song by the title or a book by the cover.

4. "You Don't Know Me" - 9/10 - I must admit that the Exit/In performance had a certain charm that this one lacks, but this song is just the perfect single. Regina Spektor is a great pop artist of these times and she shines on this track without taking it over. Can't wait to hear how this song sounds live.

5. "Before Cologne" - 10/10 - I don't understand why it's a separate track, but maybe for the purposes of being a single? That'd be cool.

6. "Cologne" - 10/10 - When I gave in and watched the video on his MySpace, this instantly became my favorite new song that I've heard in awhile. The album version is just as good. The line about the astronaut in diapers is the most innovative way of describing missing someone I've ever heard and I'm so jealous, as a songwriter, that I didn't do it first.

7. "Errant Dog" - 9/10 - The vocal is just so energetic and fun! The cursing brings you back to the classic Ben Folds lyric writing and best yet: it works! It's not just throwing in dirty words for the hell of it. It's supposed to sound like Jerry Springer and it does. Love it.

8. "Free Coffee" - 8/10 - Okay I was worried about this one. I thought the Exit/In performance showed promise but wasn't where it needed to be yet. All worries were gone with the first listen of the final version. Great song. Love the prepared piano.

9. "Bitch Went Nuts" - 10/10 - I thought this seemed promising from Exit/In but man oh man oh man.. If he could edit it enough to be a single without sacrificing the charm of the song, I could see this being a hit single. It's got everything - great lyrics full of humor and sincerity, VERY catchy melodies, a dramatic as hell sounding chorus, and just a well written composition all around. I gave this a 10 because, like "Cologne," I couldn't listen just once, I repeated it over and over. Bravo to the band!

10. "Brainwashed" - 8/10 - Great song. Really good melody, cool lyrics. Nothing bad to say really, it's just a good composition.

11. "Effington" - 9/10 - I've always loved this song in any form I've heard it (Exit/In, Live with Philly Orchestra, Studio). The intro lyric alone is just tops. I like the final lyric too with the part about the soundtrack because this song reminds me of the soundtrack to "American Beauty" or the music in "The Sims" so that lyric was great to me.

12. "Kylie From Connecticut" - 10/10 - First time i heard this was at the Philly Orchestra performance. It was worth the wait then, and it was worth the wait now. Awesome lyrics. The highlight is the middle section. Musically, he does a wonderful job of making you feel the exact thoughts of the wife who's thinking about her one that got away and her husband's mistress. Reaffirms my belief that Ben is one of todays best songwriters and if there's any cosmic justice in the world will be remembered forever as such.

Last note - just want to point out that this record got a really good rating on every song for me. That's not typical. Had I gone song by song on his last LP (the compilation of EPs) it wouldn't have been nearly as positive, so take this review as meaning he REALLY did a great job on this record.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating
Post by: gettinoldtoofast on September 24, 2008, 05:51:26 PM
Hiroshima 5/10
Dr. Yang 7/10
Frown Song 6/10
You Don't Know Me 8/10
Before Cologne/Cologne 7/10
Errant Dog 8/10
Free Coffee 3.5/10 (Live version was so much better. Most dissapointing song on the album)
Bitch Went Nuts 7.5/10
Brainwascht 7/10
Effington 7.5/10
Kylie From Connecticut 8.5/10


So far I'm very dissapointed with the album after 4 or 5 listens.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on September 24, 2008, 05:52:31 PM
so far I'm very dissapointed with the album after 4 or 5 listens.
BLASPHEMY
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating
Post by: Brandinian on September 25, 2008, 07:33:28 PM
Is it wrong that I really want to give almost every single song on this album a 10?

Okay, here we go:

"Hiroshima" - 8.5/10 - Love this song. Could easily become one of the crowd favorites if done as a sing along. It's really really catchy, and a great opener. I love the lyrics, despite what some people may say about them. I almost think that it would have been better recorded without the audience.. but it does give it a certain charm.

"Dr. Yang" - 9/10 - This is another great song. It's really really fun, and I love Ben's vocals on it. Plus, the bass sounds great, and I love this so so so much more than the fake version. The fake version I didn't really like at all, but this one is so good. It's super rockin'.

"The Frown Song" - 8/10 - This isn't one that I usually listen to, but it's still nice. It sounds different from a lot of Ben's songs. While it's not my favorite on the album, it's got a great hook, and a pretty cool beat. I like the song all in all, even though I usually wind up skipping it.

"You Don't Know Me" - 10/10 - One of Ben's coolest songs. Love the fact that it's a duet with Regina Spektor, and she is featured just enough to leave you wanting more, but also feeling completely satisfied. The beat of this song is so infectious, and you can't help but to nod your head and bounce while listening to it. The lyrics are great, the song is fun, and it makes for an amazing single. Ben has developed musically, and this song is real evidence of that.

"Before Cologne/Cologne" - 10/10 - I'm just putting these together into one, because they basically are. This song is really beautiful, and I love it so much more than the fake album, because it's like a single Ben instead of a chorus of people. It really feels lonely, longing, which shows that it is such an emotional song. Ben Folds is a genius, and songs like this prove that. In it's nearly 6 minutes of combined run-time, it never drags on, and you still want to hear more and more. The piano and strings belong together. Ben can really make you feel something while listening to his music.

"Errant Dog" - 8/10 - This song does have some great lyrics that make me smile when listening to it. It's another one of those really rocky songs, that sort of sound like a throwback to his BFF days a bit. It's not the best on the album, but it's still really great to listen and jam to.

"Free Coffee" - 6/10 - Not my favorite song on the album. I don't really like it that much, but most people that I have talked to see to like it. It's not by any means a bad song, it just really doesn't appeal to my tastes too much, but I do still occasionally listen to it.

"Bitch Went Nuts" - 10/10 - Great song! So catchy, funny, witty, poppy, and awesome. It's really hard to listen to this and not smile and have it stuck in your head all day. This is one of those songs that you'll be humming over and over until you just have to go back and give it another listen. Yeah, it's that good. Plus, he uses the word c*nt. Who says c*nt in a pop song? Ben f*cking Folds.

"Brainwascht" - 9/10 - I really want to know who this song is about. Again, such a fun song with really funny and witty lyrics. You can tell that it's angry, yet it makes you so happy at the same time, another thing that Ben Folds has a knack for. Everything in this song works so well, he did a great job on it.

"Effington" - 10/10 - This and Kylie are my two favorite songs on the album. This song really sounds like it could be from a movie, and it's super super catchy. The harmonies are awesome, the piano playing is wonderful, the song is super catchy, and the chorus rocks. This has become one of my favorite Ben Folds songs of all time, because it's just so dang good.

"Kyle From Connecticut" - 10/10 - This song is breathtakingly beautiful. The lyrics and music flow so well together, and this song really puts you in an entirely different world when listening to it. There is not one part of this song that doesn't work flawlessly in my opinion. Also one of Ben's best songs.

I love this album, and I think perhaps it may be my favorite of all of his solo albums.

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kevlar35 on September 26, 2008, 01:15:19 AM
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: bENFOLDS on September 26, 2008, 04:15:39 AM
Have you tried comparing the quality to what's on the Myspace page?
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kevlar35 on September 26, 2008, 05:45:04 AM
Yep. It's kind of hard to tell because I'm listening to the Myspace page through a laptop. I've downloaded a torrent version though so I can compare. I mean, the CD has to be better than that, right?  :)


The mystery deepens. I'm listening to the torrent version now through my home stereo and it sounds pretty good. Hmmm. I'll burn a copy and try it in the car tomorrow. Is it even possible to have a 'bad' CD?
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: mattfoxesq on September 26, 2008, 06:41:10 AM
Some stereo systems and factory component CD players don't respond well to CD's that are produced really "hot," and they end up clipping the sound.  It definitely happens on older models, but on some new players too. 

There's not really anything you can do, unless you want to rip the CD as wav files or mp3's, then lower the level in an audio editing program and re-burn to a new disc.  I would recommend upgrading the CD player if possible, because more and more albums are sadly being compressed for "loudness and punchiness" this way, and I'm guessing you will have problems with other albums too.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: caats19 on September 26, 2008, 09:30:45 AM
"spoilers" in the title is pretty effington funny.  brainwashed is like an 8/10. i dunno bout the rest.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: senselessdrum on September 26, 2008, 11:23:57 AM
BLASPHEMY
[/quote]



This is why I love the .org, because we don't expect to love everything Ben Folds puts out. We love it if we love it, if we don't like it we say we don't. We don't need to all collectively like it because we're a fan. There's a point where the ass-kissing stops. Like, when a fan has an opinion.


I dig a good 65% of the album so far. I need more listens. I'm just wondering what made Ben put such a horrible song as the opener, when he's notorious for puting great energetic numbers in that spot.

Jackson Cannery
OAD
Narcolepsy
Annie Waits
(eh, not really Bastard so much)


But this song is fake, atrocious, annoyingly catchy (yes, the bad kind of catchy). and such an Elton John rip-off rather than a tribute. It would have been ok as a B-side, but to start the album I don't know what he was thinking. As a fan, I'm entitled to question that. Still, I like a decent amount of the sound in the new album so far..
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: gettinoldtoofast on September 26, 2008, 11:51:58 AM
Hiroshima 5/10
Dr. Yang 7/10
Frown Song 6/10
You Don't Know Me 8/10
Before Cologne/Cologne 7/10
Errant Dog 8/10
Free Coffee 3.5/10 (Live version was so much better. Most dissapointing song on the album)
Bitch Went Nuts 7.5/10
Brainwascht 7/10
Effington 7.5/10
Kylie From Connecticut 8.5/10


So far I'm very dissapointed with the album after 4 or 5 listens.

It's getting better with each listen. I just wish there was a track or 2 that would standout to me. It's just a bunch of good, not great, songs.

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: BrianLev on September 26, 2008, 02:48:17 PM
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?



I had noticed that "You Don't Know Me" sounded compressed as balls (bought it off iTunes). I must say that I felt like it worked for the recording although I'm usually not a fan of that type of production. I'll have the record on Tuesday and we'll see how the rest of the tracks fare. They sound sh*tty on MySpace, but everything sounds sh*tty on MySpace. Regardless, can't be as bad as Metallica's new record where fans are demanding a remixed version.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on September 26, 2008, 04:26:24 PM

BLASPHEMY



This is why I love the .org, because we don't expect to love everything Ben Folds puts out. We love it if we love it, if we don't like it we say we don't. We don't need to all collectively like it because we're a fan. There's a point where the ass-kissing stops. Like, when a fan has an opinion.


I dig a good 65% of the album so far. I need more listens. I'm just wondering what made Ben put such a horrible song as the opener, when he's notorious for puting great energetic numbers in that spot.

Jackson Cannery
OAD
Narcolepsy
Annie Waits
(eh, not really Bastard so much)


But this song is fake, atrocious, annoyingly catchy (yes, the bad kind of catchy). and such an Elton John rip-off rather than a tribute. It would have been ok as a B-side, but to start the album I don't know what he was thinking. As a fan, I'm entitled to question that. Still, I like a decent amount of the sound in the new album so far..
I was joking but it's cool cuz you're an orger, you wouldn't know. :P
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Nudist on September 27, 2008, 10:18:44 AM
BLASPHEMY



This is why I love the .org, because we don't expect to love everything Ben Folds puts out. We love it if we love it, if we don't like it we say we don't. We don't need to all collectively like it because we're a fan. There's a point where the ass-kissing stops. Like, when a fan has an opinion.


I dig a good 65% of the album so far. I need more listens. I'm just wondering what made Ben put such a horrible song as the opener, when he's notorious for puting great energetic numbers in that spot.

Jackson Cannery
OAD
Narcolepsy
Annie Waits
(eh, not really Bastard so much)


But this song is fake, atrocious, annoyingly catchy (yes, the bad kind of catchy). and such an Elton John rip-off rather than a tribute. It would have been ok as a B-side, but to start the album I don't know what he was thinking. As a fan, I'm entitled to question that. Still, I like a decent amount of the sound in the new album so far..
[/quote]

I agree with you that Hiroshima is a poor opener.  But Bastard?  That was brilliant.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: MongrelPiano on September 27, 2008, 03:42:47 PM
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kevlar35 on September 27, 2008, 07:54:49 PM
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...





Thanks to everyone who's responded. I read the Wiki page on 'The Loudness Wars' and it certainly seems to fit my experience. They do mention that it can be less of an issue with vinyl, so I might have to pick up the vinyl version and make my own CD.

Damn!
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on September 27, 2008, 08:41:53 PM
I never really noticed that before. Guess that's a product of being a child of the nineties
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Kwyjibo on September 28, 2008, 02:01:49 AM
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...





Thanks to everyone who's responded. I read the Wiki page on 'The Loudness Wars' and it certainly seems to fit my experience. They do mention that it can be less of an issue with vinyl, so I might have to pick up the vinyl version and make my own CD.

Damn!

Yep, same problem here Kev, glad it's not just my picky ears. I have to say I'm really surprised Ben wouldn't have control over something like this, or if he does, why he would choose to let it be mixed this way. Either way, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come for all future BF albums.

It's funny, my husband's a musician and is *always* bitching about sh*tty compression in songs these days. He's on the front lines of the "Loudness War" (I wasn't aware there was an actual term for it!) and I always thought he was just being an elitist prog-rock dork *lol* But now it's affecting music I like, I think I'll join him on the front lines!
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: PAUL LLEWELLYN on September 28, 2008, 03:02:12 AM
"Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album.."

Hopefully, someone who gets the vinyl will post a nice rip of it.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: MongrelPiano on September 28, 2008, 06:55:35 AM
Metallica's Death Magnetic was mentioned upthread, and someone made this pretty funny (if slightly too long) parody:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YUGSrzTNjZw  ;D

Rush is mentioned in it b/c their '02 album Vapor Trails is also a notoriously compressed, clippy mess.

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: MongrelPiano on September 28, 2008, 07:36:45 AM
Hopefully, someone who gets the vinyl will post a nice rip of it.

That would be cool...
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kevlar35 on September 28, 2008, 06:33:02 PM
Seeing as how I kidnapped this thread and turned it into a discussion of modern mastering techniques, I figure it's only right that I wrestle it back into line...

Hiroshima 7/10
Strange one this. Every time it starts I kind of want to skip it, but if I let it play on I'm loving it by the halfway mark.

Dr. Yang 9/10
Oh yeah, great stuff and like the album as a whole, it plays to my prejudices. Sending up the self-obsession of the middle-classes is always going to get an extra point in my ranking system!

Frown Song 9/10
Fantastic chugging pop song with a brilliant bridge. I think the electronic keyboards just give it an extra nudge.

You Don't Know Me 9.5/10
I've heard this a lot but it still works for me. The contrast between the subject matter and the charmingly light treatment gives it a quirky depth. Regina and Ben pull off the interaction wonderfully. It's also a cross-over song in that I'm finding a few people I know who aren't Folds' fans (philestines!) are liking this track. It could bring him some new punters.

Before Cologne
Why is 'Before Cologne' a separate track? Isn't it just the intro of 'Cologne'? Bloody Americans. He would never have done this when he was living in Adelaide!

Cologne 7.5/10
I like it, but it seems almost out of place on this album. It sounds like a Silverman track, which is not a criticism btw. After a few listens I think I prefer this stripped down version to the leak, although I do miss that big echoey 'boom' at the end of the countdown in the leaked version.

Errant Dog 9/10
First time I heard this I was unconvinced, but man, what a grower! One of my favourites now.
One thing though, does it really say 'godd*mn I look like a Jew'? Am I hearing that wrong? What does it mean?

Free Coffee 5/10
I like the opening , especially the lyric, but after that it just kind of fizzles out. I like the observation, but it doesn't really evolve into anything beyond that single point. I tell you what Foldsy, I don't know about coffee, but I'll buy you a beer if you ever go broke. Just one though, I'm on a budget.

Bitch Went Nuts 9/10
Awesome upbeat piano smasher that Silverman was missing. Trademark Folds humour with that big piano sound. Guaranteed concert staple for years to come. Makes me feel good.

Brainwascht 9/10
Another killer track, the lyrics are great 'Is there a funnel...' love it. The way it meanders into the bridge and then explodes out of it makes my chest swell. Is that weird?

Effington 10/10
This song had it's hooks into me within five seconds of it starting. I love every note, every word, especially the 'it would sound like this' bit. I can't really express why, it and my neural pathways just seem to have hit it off. For those of you from Australia, I'm a Collingwood supporter, so the whole 'laughing at your football team' thing resonates. Deeply.

Kylie From Connecticut 10/10
Beautiful. It reminds me in, tone and effect, of 'Fred Jones Pt2' one of my other faves. I can't think of a better album closer (except maybe that 'Long way to go' playout from the fake leak. I love that). One of the things I like best about Ben Folds is the effortless mix of the irreverent and the moving. This song really shows off the later. It's extremely evocative, with the musical interlude in the middle of the song just masterful. The strings here are amazing. One of his best ever songs.



Overall? I'm giving this biatch a 9.5 out of 10 for the songs (and a 5 out of 10 for the mastering!).

I don't know about you guys, but it's really a relief to hear this album. Ben Folds is easily my favourite artist, but generally musicians tend to produce their best stuff really early and then devolve into mediocrity. Here we are 13 years into his recording career and he's just banged out an album that is (for me) right up there with anything he's done. Sensational.

Hat's off to you Mr Folds. You are a freak.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: hilly on September 28, 2008, 07:24:26 PM
I enjoy Free Coffee (while far from my favorite) live... but the studio version is AWFUL.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on September 28, 2008, 08:02:05 PM
I think it had to do with the guy producing the album, Dennis Herring If I'm correct.  He probably had a lot to do with why it's compressed as shit, maybe epic made him do it. I don't think ben did it of his own will, he's said he thinks that current medium of cds and such isn't where he'd hoped it would be by now.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: MongrelPiano on September 29, 2008, 05:01:08 AM
Yeah, a lot of times it's the record company execs who pressure mastering engineers into squashing.  That said, at least WtN doesn't set any new records for compression/clipping the way that Metallica's new joke album does.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kevlar35 on September 29, 2008, 08:24:58 AM
It's funny, my husband's a musician and is *always* bitching about sh*tty compression in songs these days. He's on the front lines of the "Loudness War" (I wasn't aware there was an actual term for it!) and I always thought he was just being an elitist prog-rock dork *lol* But now it's affecting music I like, I think I'll join him on the front lines!

Me too! It seems your husband is ahead of the curve. Any other issues we should know about?  :D
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Hanny on September 29, 2008, 03:22:06 PM
Brainwascht wins with Frown Song, Kylie and YDKM coming in close behind and then the others in some unkown order...least fav is Dr Yang but only cos I was so attached to the fake version...and this version of Free Coffee isn't a favourite of mine. I have written a review but won't go on durham21 till term...
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: melissa on September 29, 2008, 04:39:15 PM
i'll have to listen a few more times to give a proper rating.  but, all i know right now is that i skipped Free Coffee.  no lie.  first listen through the record and i skipped it a minute in.  sounds f*cking terrible.  and i love that song too.   >:(
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: DrAlexHaleIII on September 29, 2008, 11:01:31 PM
THE BITCH WENT NUTS closely followed by EFFINGTON.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on September 29, 2008, 11:31:47 PM
Yeah, a lot of times it's the record company execs who pressure mastering engineers into squashing.  That said, at least WtN doesn't set any new records for compression/clipping the way that Metallica's new joke album does.
Now I like their new album, and I think that either a)they wanted it that loud because they thought it would be cool or b) the record execs made them do it. I have a huge amount of respect for Rick Rubin and I think he did a bang up job on System of a Down's last album and it sounded awesome it was like my ears were in ecstasy listening to Mezmerize/Hypnotize.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: MongrelPiano on September 30, 2008, 02:17:00 AM
Now I like their new album, and I think that either a)they wanted it that loud because they thought it would be cool or b) the record execs made them do it. I have a huge amount of respect for Rick Rubin and I think he did a bang up job on System of a Down's last album and it sounded awesome it was like my ears were in ecstasy listening to Mezmerize/Hypnotize.

According to what I read, Deff Magnetik's mastering engineer is quoted as saying that it got squashed in the mxing stage as opposed to the mastering stage, and that it sounds exactly the way the band wanted it.  I mean just from listening to the iTunes samples you can hear the horrible digital distortion, that's how bad it is.  Never underestimate Metallica when it comes to douchiness! :P

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: bENFOLDS on September 30, 2008, 04:06:35 AM
I have a huge amount of respect for Rick Rubin and I think he did a bang up job on System of a Down's last album

He didn't do such a great job on Minutes to Midnight though, did he? I mean, if a band decides its high time to completely change their sound, with a man of his reputation you'd expect the transition to be smoother. By all means, the album was good but for me it was just a random collection of different sounding songs...
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: kingrikk (Kirk) on September 30, 2008, 04:53:05 AM
OK, so after my scathing first impression last night, I thought I'd expand, and this seemed the place to do it, even if it has gone a bit OT.

Firstly, I still feel this Album is far too over produced. After seeing what Ben is capable of with WKAP, it's a real pity to have his own album ruined by a producer who seemingly doesn't know when to stop. Many of the songs are really nice - Cologne, Brainwascht, Kylie, Errant Dog, YDKM. But they'd be much nicer if they didn't sound like a wall of noise. And weren't so stupidly horribly compressed. As was said up thread, you can hear all the edits, and it all sounds so... unrealistic. Part of the reason I like Ben is that his albums sound real, not overprocessed multipart pop. That all ends with WTN, it seems.

I don't do number ratings, just words - sorry.

Hiroshima - Hmm. It's catchy. But it's about a minute too long. I get bored halfway through, and it's only 3:37. It's great live though, and it will continue to be a nice audience participation one.

Dr Yang - I'm torn with this one. I partly like it, and again, live I'm sure it'll be great. But the fuzz is just TOO LOUD! Can't hear the melody! I love the fake one too - as silly as it is, it's a much better song!

The Frown Song - Yeah, this is OK. I like the synth. Not the most exciting melody ever.

You Don't Know Me - Yay! Great.

Before Cologne & Cologne - Gah! The Piano Orchestra version is perfect. Emotionally charged, beautiful and enchanting. This is a piece of crap. What is that massive flat, drum machine sounding drum beat a la Annie Waits doing there? And the vocals?

Errant Dog - A lovely song, (too compressed), great live. I like this one.

Free Coffee - The distorted sound is great. However, on this album version, it's hit the limiter and gone all sparkly and broken sounding. From the way the vocals are all over the place as well, it really sounds like an equipment fault rather than intentional. Pity, I'm one of the few who actually likes this song. It surely must be intentional, but who knows why. It sounds awful and makes me feel sick.

Bitch Went Nuts - I like this. Nice upbeat mad song. The guy reading the speech is the wrong voice for it though.

Brainwashed - Yeah! Vocals sound awful though. (Again)

Effington - It's OK, I suppose. I keep thinking it's a little lame really.

Kylie from Connecticut - I like this one lots. I didn't when I heard it on the bootlegs, but I do now. Some classic Ben string action in the middle.

So that's that.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: rocket21 on September 30, 2008, 07:21:16 AM
Hiroshima
Never been a fan of this quasi-studio version.  I get what he was going for and am glad it's the opener, so it doesn't kill the flow of the rest of the album.

Dr. Yang
I enjoy the vocal range.  Beyond that, I don't know yet, but I do prefer it to the fake version.

The Frown Song
There are definitely some catchy melodies in the song, though I can't tell if the synths are detrimental or not yet.  I think they'll grow on me (Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles has similar sounding synths on it).  Drastically better than the fake version.

You Don't Know Me
I've listened to this and Hiroshima the most since they were released awhile back.  It's an okay song, but I don't know if it's first single material.  Certainly works better on the album than it did live, but still seems a bit disjointed.

Before Cologne
I'm not sure why this isn't part of Cologne, but it's nice nonethless.

Cologne
At first I thought I liked the DVD version better, but I think I like the instrumentation better on this one.  I suspect this could be a single at some point, and think it's superior to You Don't Know Me.

Errant Dog
Seemed a little bit hokey to me when I first heard it (thought it should be a B-side instead).

Free Coffee
Experimental instrumentation for sure...I think this one worked better live.  Feels like a building experiment that never quite gets off the ground.  I think I prefer the fake version to this one.

Bitch Went Nuts
A good song, though I may prefer the fake version to it because the lyrics to that one are so great.  Nonetheless one of my favorite songs on the album.

Brainwascht
Some good melody in this one - I prefer it to the fake one.  Good driving beat.

Effington
This was one of my favorite songs when I first heard the whole album, but it seems in hindsight to work much better live.  Maybe it'll re-grow on me.

Kylie from Connecticut
Great song, especially the middle of it.  Worked really well live too.  Probably the right song to close the album as well.  Feels a lot like Nick Drake/Duncan Sheik/Beck (Sea Change).
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: SexTypeNeil on September 30, 2008, 07:57:54 AM
Does anyone else think that errant dog sounds a lot more like Mojosha?
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: rocket21 on September 30, 2008, 08:22:27 AM
Does anyone else think that errant dog sounds a lot more like Mojosha?

It sounds a little bit like it, but it reminds me more of the Dog song off his EP a little while back.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Indigo Getdown on October 05, 2008, 03:28:31 PM
Thought a dull Sunday afternoon was as good a time as any to revive this thread..........


Hiroshima- Not the strongest opener by any means, but the lyrics are fun and the music is decent enough as it clunks along. I actually like the addition of the crowd noise and especially the strings. Without the extra sounds, it'd be much more obvious that the song is basically the same four chords getting pounded over and over.

Dr. Yang- This one has definately had to grow on me a lot, but I like it, though the big bass explosions make the whole track seem sort of disjointed. Ben's vocal performance from about halfway through onward is stellar, though.

The Frown Song- Another track that has really had to grow on me, and while I dig it now, it's still not one of my favorites. They synths are cool, but they don't necessarily add a whole lot to it. Kind of reminds me of All U Can Eat, lyric wise.

You Don't Know Me- I loved this one the first time I heard it off the "leak" and I still love it now. It's the weird little pop song that keeps on giving. Regina's background vocals kick ass.

(before) Cologne- One of my favorites, though there's still a special place in my heart for the orchestrated version. But I don't think that one would have worked well with the rest of the record; where as this stripped down version makes for a fantastic centerpiece. The strings are a nice touch and I like the little "that's it" Ben utters at the end.

Errant Dog- this was one of my least favorites live, but I've enjoyed the studio cut much more then I expected. More then really anything else from Ben's solo catalogue, this song really sounds like it could have been a BFF b-side.

Free Coffee- This is going to be a very unpopular opinion at the moment, but I actually liked how this one turned out on the album. The prepared piano sounds a bit more distorted then it probably needs to be but I think that, along with the hammering drums, gives the song a really cool percussive centric groove that's really different for a Folds song. Lyrics could be better, but they work.

Bitch Went Nuts- This song is great. There's so much energy being channeled through everything, it sounds like they realy had fun working on it. The spoken word intro is okay, but I actually like the music going on underneath it better, haha.

Brainwascht- Easily my personal favorite at the moment. The driving beat is addictive and the song itself is catchy as hell. The lyrics, particularly the bridge sections, are some of the strongest on the album.

Effington- Another one of my favorites. Hearing Ben's every single breath is a bit jarring at first, but I've gotten use to it for the most part. Really, the only addition that I think could have made it better would have been backing harmonies during the second go-round of "If There's a God....." I do have one question though: Where the f*ck is Effington: The Effing Musical!! ? 

Kylie from Connecticut- Damn fine closer. I would easily put it up there with Boxing and Evaportated. Funky bass levels aside, the music is great and the string arrangements are phenominal. It's probably the strongest lyric on the whole record to boot.



Even with the weird production issues, I'm still willing to consider the idea that Way to Normal might just Ben's strongest solo effort to date. If the material is good enough, you'll have a difficult time keeping a f*cking good set of songs down.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: asydlow81 on October 05, 2008, 04:08:05 PM
RTS still owns WTN, hands down.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: You Dont Know Zach on October 05, 2008, 04:55:57 PM
no it doesn't, WtN stands on it's own merits, what with the song writing being almost better than RtS, and if it'd been his first solo release you'd say it owns RtS.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Indigo Getdown on October 05, 2008, 06:16:09 PM
RTS still owns WTN, hands down.
Awesome dude. To each their own. RTS is the one album that I don't particularly care for all that much...so.....yeah.

Hooray for opinions? haha 
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: asydlow81 on October 06, 2008, 01:51:11 PM
no it doesn't, WtN stands on it's own merits, what with the song writing being almost better than RtS, and if it'd been his first solo release you'd say it owns RtS.

I didn't say WtN was bad...I just said RTS was better.  Even you admit there at the song writing in RTS is better.  I don't get how you are saying his his first album is relative to my enjoyment of it.  I mean, I think that the Five's albums improved over time.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: katebug on October 07, 2008, 01:45:38 AM
Hiroshima    I like it, it's really catchy and I do find myself oh ohhhing throughout the day. I dont like the talking at the end though. It's cheesy. I do think the lyrics are a bit lame, not in a good way! But yeah, I like it and I know I'll listen to it a lot.

Dr. Yang   I like this a lot as well, I love the tempo. But that noise! aaargh. Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough a music-listener, but I dont get it. Love the bridge though. Wish the song was a bit simpler, as I think in essence it's good.

The Frown Song   I think my criticisms are because I dont like the synth sound in anything. Chorus is good. Think I'll get bored with it. I find it hard to follow the lyrics to this song. I dont think I could tell you what it's about at this point in time! I can imagine this being a theme tune or in a movie soundtrack in some parts.

You Don't Know Me   So catchy and quirky and cool. I love this! I dont mind swearing, but kind of wish it didnt have the f*ck in the middle, as it's such a sweet anti-love song. Definitely my favourite at the moment, possibly because it's the easy listening!!

Before Cologne    Nice

Cologne    I like this song. The 4,3,2,1...is catchy and poignant and I find the whole song quite mesmeric. Just a personal thing, but I hate hate hate that he included the story about the guy driving with the diaper. It's just such a stupid image in such a beautiful song. I know that's kind of ben, but it jolts me. Some of the lyrics seem a bit squashed in this song (actually in quite a few of the songs). There are some fabulous lyrics in this album, but I thought also some quite bad ones in places
I like the line about imaginary conversation though.

Errant Dog   this is such a fun song!!! Dont really like the way they actually sing 'errant dog' and it's a bit noisy at times. But I like the melody most of the time.

Free Coffee  I didnt listen to any of the songs before I got the album, but I'd heard about this song and loved the idea of him getting free coffee now he's rich but couldnt when he was broke. I thought it'd be a cool song. I cannot get past the awful scratchiness of the song though. I dont think I could hear the lyrics because I was just trying to turn it down, and down and stop the scratching. It doesn't even sound like it's a catchy or compelling song under the scratching anyway. I'll keep skipping it.

Bitch Went Nuts   didnt like it the first time I listened to it, but I actually quite like it now! it's funny! to me this is perfect ben humour. turns a bit weird near the end but I'll ignore that. I love him laughing 'holy f*cking shit'
 
Brainwascht    better after a couple of listens. Some of the most poignant lyrics to me. I think there's real thought behind this. Although brainwashed brainwashed brainwashed etc is going to get a bit tiring I think if I keep listening to it. The verses are cool.

Effington  this hasnt really made any impression on me at all. I had to go and listen to it again to remind myself how it sounded. Dont like it, dont hate it. Doubt I'd ever feel the urge to listen to it on it's own. Sounds like the beginning of a cheesy musical.

Kylie from Connecticut I like it. Not as good as Still, but it's nice and easy to listen to and really calming. Seems quite a classic.


I must say that although there are obviously some characters in some of these songs, I dont feel like any of them made an impression on me. Maybe I just havent really listened to it well enough or enough times yet, but I dont feel like the stories in this are as strong as in other albums, which is a large part of why I like Ben. In terms of music in general it's certainly good. I dont know how I'd rank it in Ben terms yet. I was very disappointed on my first listen, but then I was with SFS, and of course soon realised how good it was.

Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Ive Landed on October 13, 2008, 10:41:42 AM
Hiroshima 8/10
Dr. Yang 8/10
Frown Song 10/10
You Don't Know Me 10/10
Before Cologne/Cologne 10/10
Errant Dog 8/10
Free Coffee 5/10
Bitch Went Nuts 9/10
Brainwascht 8/10
Effington 9/10
Kylie From Connecticut 10/10

ydm was my 1st favorite track, when i heard the live bootleg. fell in love with cologne and kylie, and seeing the live verison of the real frown song was awesome. good album, but i think sfs will always be my favorite.

kylie takes the vote for me.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: clarkey on October 13, 2008, 01:54:32 PM
Hiroshima - 6/10 - As album openers go, I've heard better. It's certainly no Narcolepsy or One Angry Dwarf. But I grew to love it, now I've heard it a bit too much and often contemplate skipping it.

Dr. Yang - 7/10 - Not a bad song, the piano work on it is pretty cool. But lyrically I prefer the fake version (mainly due to the use of "chronic halitosis" in a song)

The Frown Song - 8/10 - This is where the album really starts to hit its stride. As others have mentioned, in the same lyrical mould as All U Can Eat. Can't have a Ben album without a bit of social commentary.

You Don't Know Me - 9/10 - Have heard this way too much but, unlike with Hiroshima, I still listen to it and love it. I think it's just a perfect quirky pop song. Liked it even before Regina but she takes it to a whole new level.

Before Cologne/Cologne - 10/10 - This may be my favourite Ben solo song of all time, I think. I adored the orchestral version on the fake leak and hated the album version at first. But gradually it made sense: stripping it all back adds just so much more emotion to the song. And when those strings swell and he says "that's it"... f*ck, it's awesome.

Errant Dog - 6/10 - I didn't really like this live. Album version is better but still not a fav.

Free Coffee - 7/10 - I quite liked the live bootlegs of this and, as others have said, the production is just a bit too annoying. I don't skip it but I don't enjoy it as much as I could have.

Bitch Went Nuts - 9/10 - I love the piano break and I love the "holy f*cking shit" bit. And I reckon the intro bit is brilliant. Is it Ben, because it seriously sounds like him at some points in it.

Brainwascht - 10/10 - The catchiest smackdown in the history of music? "There's something wrong being copied on a memo in the form of a bad country demo" - line of the album. Do we know who and what song this is about yet? I've heard Carrie Underwood but no evidence to go along with that...

Effington - 8/10 - I don't care much for the lyrics really, but I like a lot of the piano work on it.

Kylie from Connecticut - 9/10 - A stunning closer. But really, that's what I've come to expect from Ben (with the exception of Prison Food)

 


Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: bENFOLDS on October 13, 2008, 02:54:57 PM
Wow, Ive Landed, Free Coffee really stands out from your ratings!
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: moakle on October 15, 2008, 12:45:26 PM
   Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head) - 8/10
   Dr. Yang - 6/10
   The Frown Song - 5/10
   You Don't Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor) - 10/10
   Before Cologne - 9/10
   Cologne - 10/10
   Errant Dog - 8/10
   Free Coffee - 5/10
   Bitch Went Nuts - 9/10
   Brainwascht - 8/10
   Effington - 9/10
   Kylie from Connecticut - 8/10

I've given Before Cologne a separate mark but really I see that as the same song as Cologne - I can't play Colgone without Before Cologne first
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: Allison on October 15, 2008, 04:47:31 PM
Hiroshima - I can really take it or leave it at this point. Maybe it's too high of exposure? That, and not really a fan of how it ends. And maybe it's just cause it opens the album. It should be a couple tracks further in the album, imo. Could well be my least favorite solo track (that actually made it on an album) ever.

Dr Yang - I love it. I love the fuzzed out bass. And I love the 'Elvis' within it, that's been confirmed to be intentional. And I like that he's actually yelling on the track.

Frown Song - What's a folds album without some sort of social commentary. And the 'rock on' bit gets stuck in my head, definately catchy.

You Don't Know Me - Good. But. I dunno. Maybe it's over exposure to the studio track before the album was released, but live this song kicks so much more ass than it does on album. The piano is pretty simple on the CD, but live it's a lot fuller.

Before Cologne - I feel is only a separate track cause we were saying on here that the album needed to be 12 tracks. Should have been part of Cologne.

Cologne - Basically a masterpiece. Not a huge fan of the diaper line, but I'm getting used to it.

Errant Dog - I have loved this song from the first time I heard it. I love the analogy throughout it.

Free Coffee - On vinyl it's fantastic. Unfortunately some sort of shit happened on the CD.

Bitch Went Nuts - I love that the holy f*cking shit part is back in the song. Though, if there were going to be 12 tracks for the album, the intro to this song could have been it's own track, imo.

Brainwascht - I hate the spelling. But other than that I like this song a lot. (and no, it is in no way Carrie Underwood, according to Mr Reynolds. He says that it's someone we've never ever heard of.)

Effington - I love it. But then again, I've got a hell of a lot of personal attachment to this song. I think it could have started off the album.

Kylie - Best track on the CD, imo. I love the total unconclusion to the track. Leaves it open to wonder again as you turn off the CD.
Title: Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
Post by: bENFOLDS on October 16, 2008, 06:49:16 AM
....as she closes her eyes
Yeah, absolutely -- I don't know why Andy doesn't like it - it's really great imo
Simple and tragic - I'm not a woman and I haven't been married for 35 years! But still, I can't help but feeling really sympathetic for the character...
I really want to hear the Vinyl now that you say Free Coffee sounds great on it!
Has someone posted a rip yet?
Cologne steals it for me though... 'diapers' = Ben refusing to conform to the fixed, bland vocabulary of mainstream pop! :D
The line reminds me of a poem I once read, all about a young man leaving his mother...he was an astronaut in space and he was attached to an umbilical cord...I think Folds is exploring a similar theme...