Sunday, May 01, 2005

Walking thru Jesusland

Ben Folds new album (is it okay to still call CDs and downloads that?) Songs for Silverman is a work of maturity we may not have known Ben had in him. But, he still has his wicked sense of humor, as evidenced in the song "Bastard" which reminds us that we don't know as much as we think we do and "Gracie" a song to his daughter ever bit as good as "Still Fighting It" for his son.

However, he has focused his lyrics and become less sarcastic and caustic (for that pick up his great EPs from last year). Many of the songs remind me of the great Elton John songs of the 70s with an edge. This album is also heavy on ballads (or slow songs, since he is no traditional balladeer- his song to his wife is called "Prison Food" and about the fact that one of them will have to die first).

However, the highlight of the CD is the Brian Wilsonesque "Jesusland" which is more of a conversation with Jesus as they survey the landscape of suburban America in the red states. It is not sarcastic, but tender and insightful (why is it that the "secular" artists always have a more intriguing take on Christianity than most "Christian" artists). The highlight lyrics are...

Town to town
Broadcast to each house
They drop your name
But no one knows your face
Billboards quoting things you never said
You hang your head and pray
For Jesusland

The second best line from the song is

"crosses flying high above the malls along the walk through Jesusland"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The comment on crosses reminded me of the trip my family and I took took to North Carolina this weekend. First, there is this huge, aluminum siding cross right on I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga and then there was the huge cross (also visible from I-40) on the Ridgecrest property. Of course I felt free to comment on the gaudiness and, in my opinion, disrespect this shows for the cross. And protestants are always ripping on Catholics for their icons. Michael of TN (aka Jesusland)