Ben Folds sucks (but not this time), and Dinosaur Jr. rules, and the Cure is also pretty good.

Normally I hate Ben Folds and his smug bastard face.  And believe me, I tried really hard to like him in the nineties, when he was huge with the college rock crowd, and all my friends loved him.

The problem is, what a lot of people see as a simple, warm, I’m-just-a-regular-guy style seems to me like just the opposite–a lowbrow rejection of sonic and lyrical experimentation in favor of pretentious high school jazz band piano doodlism, with no real hooks, childishly simplistic lyrics that feign depth while evoking nothing, and not even solid song structure (except to have the bass and drums drop out now and again while his voice hangs on a sad tired note and the piano tinkles). 

And ecchhh, that voice.  Seriously, close your eyes, listen to the Ben Folds Five, and tell me his music doesn’t remind you of Dave Matthews songs with extra gay piano.

However, what he lacks in songwriting panache he occasionally makes up for in raw skill, which you can tell every time he does a cover.  I just heard his version of “In Between Days” by the Cure and heck, it’s actually pretty darn good.

Of course, if you’re going to cover Cure songs, you’ve got some pretty stiff competition.  My favorite cover is the version of “Just Like Heaven” from Dinosaur Jr.’s first album. It blows even the Cure out of the water.

About prodigalsonnybono

Guided by Voices? Built to Spill? Crappy as Shit!

Posted on March 6, 2008, in Bands, Dinosaur Jr., Performers, The Cure. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. billybob Sutchkins

    The problem with you is, you probably even LIKE both. On the other hand, I know where I hid the mangos.

  2. Haha, we both have the same observation of Ben, especially the closing eye thing…but he’s a talent you rarely see in the post 90s era, dont you agree?

    i just recent wrote something about Ben Folds and the BF5, you might want to see HERE

    No one hasn’t done a Carrying Cathy as well as Ben Folds, strong lyrics and piano.

  3. “Just Like Heaven” was a Dino Jr. single released after their 3rd album. It does not date quite as far back as mentioned. (The Cure’s version was barely even out then.)

  4. @Jojo you are so right! Sadly, ProdigalSonnyBono wrote this in the halcyon days of 2008, when a fella could get by on very little knowledge of Dino J and still call himself a “fan.” Since then, he and I have seen the band a couple times, met J, and generally filled in some of the gaps in our knowledge.

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