Ben Folds "Way to Normal" Review

Originally published in Boyd Street Magazine on October 21st, 2008.

It’s been nearly three years since we’ve last heard a proper album from Ben Folds, but his new album, Way to Normal, was certainly worth the wait.

Way to Normal finds the perfect balance between the more humorous material on Rockin’ the Suburbs and his somber side on Saving Silverman while still managing to come across as a completely honest and natural progression of his solo career. The album is heavy on relationship songs, from the purposefully misogynistic “Bitch Went Nuts” to the he said/she said dynamic of his duo with Regina Spektor, “You Don’t Know Me,” but they never delve into the cliché and are done in the sincere yet ironic way one would expect from Folds.

The opening track “Hiroshima” tells the story of when Folds hit his head and suffered a concussion while on stage in Japan and is chock full of the self-deprecating humor and wit that makes Folds so likable. It’s on this song that Folds sings “They’re watching me fall,” and while that may be true in the literal sense within the story, it couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to his career and the quality of his material.