I get to things late. This should come as no surprise, and it’s hardly a lifestyle decree or timely review mechanism, but it actually helps filter out the promotional guff pumping through our media, so only the cream remains. Several months or even years later. Though it does make me seem behind the times or out of step or slow on the media ball or what have you. If it’s good, I’ll get around to it eventually. And further, it’s good to surprise yourself occasionally.
So, with much idiot pop glee, I discovered (rather late) Ben Folds’ Rockin’ the Suburbs
. Man has a fine, fine ear for the pop song and album. TripleJ did feature it as album of the week way back in 2001, and I remember the title tune’s wacky white-boy smarm, driving somewhere between Sydney and Newcastle (and how perfect this album was for JJJ). But I never got to hear everything else that’s great about the album: the slick production mix, the great dynamics (WTF? I mean the variety of drum sounds, the dynamic-piano arrangements and vocals, the killer chorus lines and simple-sounding complexity without loss of group dynamic (played mostly solo), the balanced blend of mid- and up-tempo, soft and rocking, light pop and right feeling), the well-rounded songs of love, youth and dying and roast beef combos, the up/bright feel so wonderfully sustained thru the whole album, songs of relationships, songs about people. It’s a real keeper. Really developed stuff, years ahead of the BF Five stuff. The kind of sustained quality you’d wish The Whitlams could muster. And also a nicely felt love-package for his Adelaide wife.