CD Review: Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue
Some partnerships, like Ben and Jerry or Tattoo’s and Roller Derby were meant to be. Ben Folds & Nick Hornby were meant to make music together. Their first collaborative album, Lonely Avenue, is a combination of Hornby’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny always-honest lyrics with Fold’s piano driven pop melodies.
The result is an album who’s themes move from self parody (opener A Working Day) to political soap drama (Levi Johnston’s Blues) to the effects of divorce on children (Claire’s Ninth).
Encompassing balled, joyous pop, 1950s big band and soul, Lonely Avenue is more than a collection of songs; it is a representation of two artists with incredibly unique approaches to their work.
The duo have a rare talent of being able to break your heart have you giggling a moment later while working seamlessly as a unit. Lonely Avenue is a Ben Folds album, but it is also a Nick Hornby story. Both artists are distinctively present within each track with neither over powering the other.
This is an album you want to own physically. Though digital is oh-so-convenient and means you can buy a new album without putting pants on, The liner notes in Lonely Avenue are well worth the pain of the top button.
Hornby explains the meanings and inspiration behind the albums 11 tracks, including ripping the chorus of Levi Johnston’s Blues (I’m A fuckin’ redneck/I live to hang out with the boys/Play some hockey/Do some fishing/Kill some moose) straight from the subject’s Facebook page.
The Folds produced Lonely Avenue, which also features Australia’s own Kate Miller-Heidke on tracks From Above and Saskia Hamilton, doesn’t seem to set out to prove anything; it honestly feels like creating this album was a labor of love. And I fucking love it.