Home Read Classic Album Review: Ben Folds | Live

Classic Album Review: Ben Folds | Live

The piano-pop troubadour fuses his forebears' finest qualities into one package.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


There are, by my count, about six guys on the planet who can actually pull off the whole piano-pop-troubadour thing.

There’s Elton John and Billy Joel, of course. There’s Randy Newman. There’s Joe Jackson. There’s Rufus Wainwright. And there’s Ben Folds, who combines the uncanny pop sensibilities of the first two, the acerbic wit of the third, the compositional intellect of the fourth and the romantic desperation of the fifth into one swell package. And the name of that package is Live, a set of endearingly intimate hits (Brick), faves (Army) and covers (Elton’s Tiny Dancer), taped before adoringly enthusiastic (and surprisingly harmonic) audiences across the U.S. See if you can get the version that comes with a DVD, if only for its definitive rendition of Song For The Dumped. On the downside, he doesn’t do Underground. Then again, neither do Elton, Billy, RandyJoe or Rufus.