Way back in 1995, I got my first taste of Ben Folds Five and fell immediately in love. Their first album had an energy and urgency missing from much of the music I was listening to at the time. Folds' stunning melodies and extraordinary piano playing brought to mind my introduction to the music of Elton John 25 years earlier.
I had the good fortune to get an advance copy of the Folds retrospective, and was pleased to find that it burrows deep into the archives, taking the listener from those early days up through the first new recordings of the reunited Ben Folds Five.
The majority of material on the first disc will be familiar to hardcore fans. It is on the second and third discs where you’ll find the true treasures. Twenty-one live tracks make up disc two, while disc three offers a fabulous selection of rarities, like demos of such gems as “Boxing” and “Best Imitation of Myself,” both of which date back to 1992. All tracks are remastered and most are previously unreleased.
Also included in the set is a 28-page booklet, which contains an introduction by Folds as well as his humorous and insightful notes about each track. A download code good for a special 5-track EP of rarities is included with your purchase of the triple disc collection. A single disc version will also be available but when so much sublime material is available on the complete retrospective, you’ll want to save your pennies and go for the full set.
If you like your music melodic with an edge and haven’t yet discovered Ben Folds, this is a collection you’ll want to check out. For the already initiated, circle October 11 on your calendars, then set aside a block of time and enjoy all the treats and treasures this set has to offer.