A new EP from the neo-piano man is out now

     In lieu of making his fans wait until his new album drops next year, Ben Folds, is releasing three five song EP’s of new non-album material this year. Also because of his desire not to have people charged more then five dollars for only five songs, you can only get the first of the EP’s “Speed Graphic” from three online sources. For more information on how to get the songs and for clips of the music you can go to www.benfolds.com.
     The other EP’s come out September and November respectively. All you need to know right now is that “Speed Graphic” is out and it’s brilliant! Made up of five songs it’s a very diverse selection of Ben Folds music.
     It seems focused on dissolution of relationships. For background Ben Folds comes from Ben Folds Five which was a very talented trio of musicians that broke up in 2000. The song you’ve heard from them is the abortion requiem, “Brick.”
     This EP starts off with an earnest cover of The Cures’ song, “In Between Days.” I am a big fan of The Cure but I like this version better only for the fact that Ben has such a beautiful voice and truthfully Robert Smith hasn’t the strength or range in his voice to compete. It’s interesting to hear this version because this song in correlation with the whole EP is very stripped down with only bass, piano, and drums used in all the songs. So without the guitar part that The Cures’ version possessed, the lyrics come out with greater honesty.
     The next track is “Give Judy My Notice.” Accompanied by only the piano, Ben sings about a failed marriage. This song, out of the millions he’s written, is the most honest as he sings in detail the feelings involved in getting divorced.
     After that is “Protection” a goofy jazz track about the different ways we as humans protect ourselves. Our protection from criminals, laws, and loves. Also musically it has a strong jazz influence along with the Ben Folds style of southern humor.
     Following that track is, “Dog.” My favorite track on the EP. Musically it moves metaphorically like a train. Which is fitting because lyrically it is about the life of a man and dog.
     The dog thinks that the man is free because he’s not in a cage but the man thinks, “My brain and his chain look the same to me.” I love the idea of a song about two lives trapped in a track being complemented by the musical equivalent of a train fixed on a track. Plus as the song is fading out you get to hear a real conversation between Ben and his wife Frally with her not realizing that they are being recorded. The conversation that ensues is very cute and feels legitimate.
     Closing out the album is, “Wandering” an old BFF song never produced. Like “Brick” its chorus was written by Darren Jesse with the rest of the lyrics written by Ben himself. It’s a slow and methodical tune and about being alone when a relationship fails and wandering around looking for what went wrong.
     So that’s the entire EP dissected in detail so you can decide if that’s something you might be into.
     If you find that you like Ben Folds I suggest getting his entire back catalogue. It’s all good!