He is often compared to, and in many ways, similar to Billy Joel. Much like Joel his songs tell stories, his songs are rather open for different interpretation based on the feelings and mindset of the listener. However, their lyrical styles are nearly polar opposites. Ben Folds writes the songs Billy Joel would have written had he come of age in the 80s and 90s instead of the 70s. There’s a certain Generation X detachment in Folds songs that sets him apart from predecessors and makes him unique.
In his latest outing, Songs For Silverman, Ben Folds waxes poetic about subjects as various as religion, relationships, parenthood, and the passing of friends/mentors.
Lyrically and musically this album is a departure from Rockin’ the Suburbs, it lacks the wit but replaces it with a bit more of an emotional punch. At first listen, I was aching for the fun and the less dour tone of Folds previous works, but with each subsequent listen this album has tiptoed into my psyche with a gentle subtlety. Folds may not be telling any “new tales” in his songs, but he tells many of the tales of life we’re all too familiar with in such a refreshingly deep and personal way that he makes his stories ours as well.