Ben Folds, Nick Hornby's "Lonely Avenue" Out Now, Offering a "Musical Nirvana," Says Boston Globe
Lonely Avenue, the new album featuring music by Ben Folds and lyrics by Nick Hornby, makes its Nonesuch release today, available in stores and online, including the Nonesuch Store, where orders include audiophile-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout. Lonely Avenue is featured on CNN.com, and you can listen to the album in its entirety in MSN's Inside Music: Listening Booth today at music.msn.com.
Folds and Hornby discussed the new album earlier today on NPR's Morning Edition. The two spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro about their writing process and the nature of their collaboration.
"What I was asking for was to create something I never would have created before," says Folds.
You can listen to the segment online at npr.org.
USA Today picks the album track "Belinda" as the Pick of the Week. "Obsessive pop-music fans will fall hard for Lonely Avenue," says USA Today music critic Brian Mansfield. Read more and see the complete Playlist at usatoday.com.
The Boston Globe suggests that the very idea of this partnership "is enough to send fans of both into paroxysms of pure pop joy." And, says reviewer Sarah Rodman, "The execution does not disappoint."
Rodman explains further: "It’s a compliment to each of them to say that the lyrics feel like they could be Folds’s own and that the musician brings his A game when it comes to setting Hornby’s vivid character studies to song."
She describes the album track "Picture Window" as "a masterpiece" and concludes of the album itself: "Lonely Avenue is musical nirvana for lovers of the deft balance of sassy snark and sincere sentiment."
Read the review at boston.com.
The New York Daily News gives the album four stars. "The brilliance of the work would assert itself even if played as a ring tone," quips Daily News music critic Jim Farber.
"Folds' music and Hornby's words make happy, effortless lovers," Farber goes on to say. "They're both elaborate without becoming self-conscious, and eccentric without being perverse. Folds, who has always been drawn to richly textured music, collaborated with pop's master of string arrangements, Paul Buckmaster, to grand effect. His songs have the fanciness and theatricality of the more adventurous works of Brian Wilson."
This musical setting offers "an ideally animated stage to set Hornby's wide array of characters," Farer writes. "Like Elvis Costello, Hornby has an uncanny way of finding the poignancy in ridiculous characters and the flaws in great ones."
Read the complete four-star review at nydailynews.com.
The Philadelphia Daily News gives Lonely Avenue an A and puts it at the Top of the Crop of today's many new releases. What to expect from a Folds/Hornby collaboration? "Great things, a wondrous ride down the paths of Lonely Avenue," raves reviewer Jonathan Takiff. "There's a nourishing story in each nugget—insightful, poignant, funny, often all at once." Read the complete review at philly.com.
The Washington Post's Express Night Out calls it "a match made in music-nerd heaven: sharp, witty novelist Nick Hornby and sharp, witty songwriter Ben Folds." And the end result, says reviewer Catherine Lewis, is "as sharp and witty as either's solo work."
Lewis concludes of the collaboration: "in this symbiotic relationship, each one brings out the best in the other, yielding mini-Hornby novels re-interpreted and set to music by Folds."
Read the review at expressnightout.com.
Head to the Nonesuch Store to pick up a copy of Lonely Avenue, available on vinyl, CD, and in a special deluxe edition that includes the CD, four short stories by Hornby, 15 images by acclaimed photographer Joel Meyerowitz, all in a hardbound, 152-page book.