Friday, October 14, 2011
Ben Folds - The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective
In the first anthology of Ben Folds' career, the man behind the piano peels back some of the mysteries behind his brilliant songwriting, and listeners will have a hell of a time exploring the journey. The Best Imitation of Myself is available as an 18-song album or a 3-album set, including one with Folds’ greatest hits, another that stitches together his best live performances, and a B-sides and rarities disc. Best, though, are the extensive liner notes detailing the story behind each song, from “artfully ripping off” Elton John (“Zak and Sara”) to making lyrics out of his ex-wife’s bitter letters to him (“Smoke”). It’s a joy to get a sense of the person behind such heartfelt, often hilarious musical narratives, all while enjoying a well-tailored collection of songs spanning from his early years in Ben Folds Five to three brand new recordings made for this retrospective. “Tell Me What I Did” fits right in with the playful synth blasts on Rockin’ the Suburbs, “Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues” is a slow, sweet serenade, and “House” is painful nostalgia, on par with Folds’ best melodies. The joyous playfulness of Folds’ live improvisation, reflected in this set in full measure, is a true testament to what makes him an unstoppable force and ever-evolving artist.