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Lonely Avenue

Ben Folds, Ben Folds and Nick HornbyAudio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Price: $10.86 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 1 Digital Booklet, 2010 $10.49  
Audio CD, 2010 $10.86  
Vinyl, 2010 --  

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Lonely Avenue + The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind + The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective (3 CD)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B003SS9DPY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,661 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. A Working Day
2. Picture Window
3. Levi Johnston's Blues
4. Doc Pomus
5. Your Dogs
6. Practical Amanda
7. Claire's Ninth
8. Password
9. From Above
10. Saskia Hamilton
11. Belinda

Editorial Reviews

'It has its own voice, which comes from some place between the two of us,' says author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and now lyricist Nick Hornby of 'Lonely Avenue,' his unique, words-and-music collaboration with Ben Folds. Singer-songwriter-pianist Folds puts it more bluntly: 'I felt like I'd found something rare on eBay or something. Nick should have done it before but it's his first big effort and I feel like I really scored here.' Hornby first attracted the attention of music fans - and artists like Folds - with his brilliant, bittersweet 1995 novel 'High Fidelity,' about an obsessive record collector's crumbling personal life that was translated into a cult classic film starring John Cusack and even a stage musical. Hornby has been an admirer since attending Folds' first U.K. shows. In fact, Hornby devoted an entire essay in his 2002 collection of music-themed short pieces, 'Songbook,' to Folds, praising the 'sophisticated simplicity' of Folds' writing. The London-based Hornby supplied the words for 'Lonely Avenue,' a project sparked by the long-distance friendship that developed after Hornby published 'Songbook.' Nashville resident Folds then set Hornby's lyrics to music in the vintage, orchestra-sized studio he'd rescued from oblivion and has been working in for the last ten years. The hero of 'High Fidelity' would have approved: Folds conceived the album as a vinyl release and recorded everything live in analog to two-inch tape, finally mastering the disc at Abbey Road. Joining Folds in the studio at various points were his own band, a string section, and legendary arranger Paul Buckmaster, who, as Folds describes him, is 'the person who makes you feel the goose bumps at the chorus and you don't know why.' (Those are Buckmaster's string charts, for example, on Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' and The Rolling Stones' 'Moonlight Mile.') 'Lonely Avenue' offers equal measures of humor and pathos in often deceptively cheerful songs. Folds literally gives voice to Hornby's endearingly mixed up, lovelorn characters, who come across as sympathetic even at their most hapless. An aging pop singer has to endlessly and agonizingly reprise his one hit, a paean to a woman he left years ago, to the fans who still attend his shows ('Belinda'). A mother deliberately avoids a stunning view of New Years Eve fireworks as she ministers to her seriously ill child in a London hospital ('Picture Window'). Hornby reconstructs the world of crippled, Brill Building-era songwriter Doc Pomus circa 1962 ('Doc Pomus'), and imagines, with unexpected tenderness, the moment when Alaskan teenager Levi Johnston discovered he'd impregnated the newly announced vice-presidential candidate's daughter, Bristol Palin. The result is an 11-song set that's as playful as it is soul-stirring, and more than a little magical. Says Folds, 'With some albums the comet goes by and you grab it while it's passing and everything you do has some comet dust on it. This is one of those albums.'

Also available in a Deluxe Edition that includes the album on CD, four short stories by Hornby, and 15 images by acclaimed photographer Joel Meyerowitz, all in a hardbound, 152-page book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Renewed Sense of Creativity September 28, 2010
By D-Rich
Format:Audio CD
I've been a Ben Folds fan since the beginning of his career, and I've got to say that this release is by far his most "different." I mean that in the best way possible. As most of you know, Nick Hornby wrote the lyrics this time around. I personally think Ben's lyrics are just as good as Hornby's, but if there's anything a guest lyricist's contribution did, it had Ben approach songwriting from a totally different perspective. I think Ben is a great songwriter in every single way, but he's been doing it for 16 + years with the same formula. Having to write music around someone else's words seems to have given Ben a reason to really perfect the music. He said it himself in recent reviews; he felt like he had to live up to the quality of the lyrics being sent to him. You can tell extra attention was given to these songs, so that they could reflect exactly what Hornby was trying to get across. I've got to say, it made Ben's music sound fresher than it has in years (and I don't think he's put out a bad one yet.)

This is, however, an album you need to pay a lot of attention to if you want to get the most out of it. Rockin the Suburbs has some great lyrics, but you don't need to listen to the words to have fun with it. The songs are bouncy and catchy, which is something that can't be said as much about Lonely Avenue. The songs aren't quite as instantly catchy, but I would not put that against the "quality" of the songs at all. It's just a bit more of a grower, mainly because you have to pay close attention to how the music plays off the words to really FEEL the album like you're supposed to. Once it clicks, you're going to find yourself lost in this record. It's the most stylistic thing he's done since Reinhold Messener, way back in 99'.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow a great release from this amazing collaboration September 28, 2010
Format:MP3 Music
I couldn't disagree more from the previous reviewer. I think this release is amazing and has such classics as Levi Johnston's Blues (love the fun romp of this tune), From Above (So freaking catchy and clever), Saskia Hamilton (another romping song). I also love the ballads such as Practical Amanda and Picture Window. I felt the lyrics by Hornby are some of his best. IMO Ben can do almost no wrong but I haven't been so excited for a release like this one. As a fan of Mr. Hornby's this was a dream come true. We can only hope for more in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album June 11, 2011
By MattC
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I really came to like this album with repeated listenings, not knowing what to expect with lyrics by novelist Nick Hornby. My favorite track is Doc Pomus which is about the life of the songwriter of that name. Other great songs are Picture Window and Clair's Ninth which is about a girl with divorced parents. Looking forward to what Ben comes up with next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying that I LOVE BEN FOLDS. He is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I own every studio album he has released and a good portion of his independent EPs.
That said, I want to focus on this album as it stands alongside his other material. Ben's mainstream music remains my favorite. Albums like "Ben Folds Five", "Whatever and Ever Amen", "Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner", "Rockin' the Suburbs", "Songs for Silverman" and "Way to Normal" are all stellar releases and should be in any fans collection. Heck, we'll even throw in "Naked Baby Photos" and "Supersunnyspeedgraphic" because they were mainstream collections of indy EPs.
However, he has released a series of "concept" album projects that only die hard fans will appreciate. These albums (in order) being "Fear of Pop", his William Shatner collaboration "Has Been", and "Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella". But with "Lonely Avenue", he has taken a concept and made it work for the everyday listener.

As he has progressed, each concept album seems to get better. "Fear of Pop" is almost unlistenable to anyone but die hard fans. It's biggest accomplishment being that Ben worked with Shatner on the track "In Love", which led to their work on "Has Been". "Has Been" was mostly a collection of spoken word pieces by Shatner with music by Folds. Memorable tracks from that include a cover of the song "Common People" by Pulp, and a track called "That's Me Trying" which was co-written by Ben and Nick Hornby (see where this is leading). "University A Cappella" is a series of Ben Folds covers by different Acappella groups (fun, but not outstanding). And finally, we land at "Lonely Avenue".

With this album, concept goes mainstream as Hornby provides the words and Folds the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An almost perfect collaboration December 19, 2010
By eman
Format:Audio CD
Ben previewed 3 songs at a solo piano show last September in St. Louis ("Picture Window", "Levi Johnston's Blues", and "Belinda"). All 3 were very well received by the crowd, and other than the added strings, "Picture Window" stayed virtually the same. It's great to hear the full band treatment on the other 2. This union works for one main reason. Lyrically, these two men are soulmates. Ben Folds has been writing about real people and real situations for years (no throwaway songs about girls and cars like most rock bands). Nick Hornby has tapped into that spirit of songwriting. Each song is detailed in such a way that the story is fully realized by the end of the song. Ben really "explores the studio space" on the record. From the magnificently DEVO-esque "Saskia Hamilton", to the hilariously stalkerific "Password", the album truly runs through a different musical style on each song. An uplifting, funny and heartbreaking release from 2 very talented individuals.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Increadible
I went to another world. This album is so clear on vinyl. Ben Folds and Nick Hornby have done a wonderful, wonderful job on this. The pressing of the vinyl is good quality as well.
Published 4 months ago by Jaimie Alexander
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it!
I liked this album more than I probably should have. As a collaborative effort with Folds putting someone else's lyrics to music, it's a bit of a departure from his "do it... Read more
Published 7 months ago by dancinhomer
4.0 out of 5 stars Rocking
I love Ben Folds and have basically all his CDs. This one is a good one.

I also love soccer (I don't care what you foreigners think, in the USA, it's called soccer. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mark I
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is G O O D
Didn't know what to think of this at first. Turned out to really like it. It's subtle, but just as good as many of the others.
Published 8 months ago by Bill Hicks
3.0 out of 5 stars lonely avenue....different
i think this was the first ben folds i ordered on amazon. it was totally not what i expected but the next was a lot closer (rocking subrbs) cd came fast in awesome condition
Published 15 months ago by douglas vining
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice easy listening
Music is Serious but not depressing. Singer has a mellow voice. some / enough uplifting bounce. Very nice easy listening.
Published 18 months ago by B. Lipiew
5.0 out of 5 stars He does it again
I have always loved Ben Folds and this CD is just another good one. It was a gift for my husband and I could not wait to listen to it after he had listened a few times.... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jean A Marwick
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Ben Folds, come on
How can it NOT be awesome!?!? One of the best vocalist/piano players of our day, possibly the most original musician in the 1900's with only Elton John to compete with.
Published 21 months ago by Bad Horse
4.0 out of 5 stars Every song is a story
I bought this because I heard a track on youtube with Nick Hornby's narration. It was catchy and almost meaningful. But it wasn't on the CD! Read more
Published 21 months ago by KB Tay
4.0 out of 5 stars close to pop perfection
I almost gave this one 5 stars. It's so darn good that I won't argue with anyone giving it the high rating. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Donald E. Gilliland
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