One of the best things about Ben Folds is that he is constantly innovating his sound. Rocking the Suburbs (2001) is very different than Songs for Silverman (2005) which is different than Way to Normal (2008), and So There (2015) is just as different. It is more subtle, the entirety of the album has more of a chamber music feel lulling and comforting the listener. For this album Ben Folds collaborated with with New York City’s classical ensemble yMusic for the first eight songs of the album. The last three being a 22 min long piano concerto which was recorded with the Nashville Symphony and has been broken into three segments.
So There opens up with “Capable of Anything” whose uncertain intro transforms into a flighty and shimmering wind instruments is a sets the tone for the album. Fold’s voice is sweet, honest, and wholesome while singing of uncertainty and certain fault. “Phone In A Pool” – which is a favorite from the album- and “the title track “So There” are the most recognizable of Ben Folds – retaining some of the feel of his 1990’s group Ben Folds Five. In “So There” he bitterly asks “How could I forget you//when there’s nothing to forget?”. “F10-D-A” is a short track that with a joking feel of teaching others a new song. Although these songs deal a lot with the downturn and demise of relationships, it is the exuberance with which Folds and yMusic performs that prevents this album from becoming depressing.
Despite being at the end of the album the three movement, three track long “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra” is a clear centerpiece for the album. It is majestic, beautiful and shows Ben Folds multi-genre musicianship. Following the typical rules of classical concertos, but with piano finesse we have become used to hearing form Folds, there is a likelihood that these songs will open up the wold of classical music to a whole new group of music listeners who hadn’t thought of enjoying their beauty before.
The track list is as follows:
- Capable of Anything
- Not a Fan
- So There
- Long Way To Go
- Phone in a Pool
- Yes Man
- I’m Not a Man
- Concerto For Piano and Orchestra, Movement 1
- Concerto For Piano and Orchestra, Movement 2
- Concerto For Piano and Orchestra, Movement 3