Ben Folds, Nick Hornby's "Lonely Avenue" Featured in The Observer; Monocle Calls It "This Year's Singer-Songwriter Classic"
With just one week to go before the release of the Ben Folds / Nick Hornby collaboration Lonely Avenue, which Monocle magazine says "exceeds the sum of its parts" and has dubbed "this year's singer-songwriter classic," the duo behind the album are the subject of a feature article in London's The Observer. The magazine's deputy editor, Emma John, talks with the two about their mutual admiration and the friendship that led to the American singer-songwriter's setting the English novelist's words to music.
"The resultant collection of wry, tender songs tackles subjects as eclectic as divorce, attack dogs, infatuation and, perhaps most unexpectedly, Sarah Palin's almost-son-in-law Levi Johnston," writes John. "Each track is a mini-narrative," she says. "And while the music is shot through with the pair's downbeat humour, it's also unashamedly melancholic—this is music for the generation that has seen it all, done most of it and is now sitting in the kitchen with a half-empty bottle, wondering what it all meant."
Read more, including what Folds and Hornby have to say, at guardian.co.uk.
Also in the UK, the Scotsman gives Lonely Avenue four stars, which sums up the project as "Two great writers, one great album of 'musical short stories.'" Reviewer Fiona Shepherd says: "Hornby's pithy, smart lyrics fit the bittersweet Folds' style perfectly and Folds, in turn, steps up to the plate with some of his most achingly beautiful melodies and arresting arrangements yet." Read more at scotsman.com.
The Irish Independent gives the album four stars as well. "Over the course of 11 songs—effectively vignettes examining a wide range of subjects—the pair's strengths are revealed," writes reviewer John Meagher. "Folds certainly knows his way around a good tune and his willingness to dip into a myriad of genres is to be applauded. Hornby, meanwhile, has really relished his role as lyricist and he is in inspired form." Read the complete review at independent.ie.
The paper also features a Q&A with Folds, who tells interviewer Ed Power of his writing partner: "What Nick gave me was another life. I could sit inside his lyrics. He is so good at getting inside other people's heads. Nick is a very empathic person. That's why his books are so popular. That's what he was doing, being his normal, empathic, Nick Hornby self." Read the interview here.
Tune in for more live online chats with Folds to come this Wednesday afternoon as part of the Lonely Interview series at benfolds.com/chat. More information will be posted soon.
Lonely Avenue is available for pre-order now on vinyl, CD, and in a special deluxe edition with four short stories by Hornby and images by acclaimed photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Nonesuch Store pre-orders also include a limited-edition printed Folds/Hornby manuscript of the song "Picture Window," with a select number signed by the artists. Reserve your copy now in the Nonesuch Store.