The Sound of the Life of the Mind

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The Sound of the Life of the Mind
Thesoundofthelifeofthemind.jpg
Studio album by Ben Folds Five
Released September 18, 2012
Genre Alternative rock, piano rock, power pop
Length 44:34
Label ImaVeePee Records
Producer Joe Pisapia[1]
Ben Folds Five chronology
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
(1999)
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
(2012)
Live (Ben Folds Five album)
(2013)
Singles from The Sound of the Life of the Mind
  1. "Do It Anyway"
    Released: 2012
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (61/100)[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[13]
Alternative Press 3/5 stars[3]
American Songwriter 3.5/5 stars[4]
The A.V. Club B[5]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[6]
Drowned in Sound (6/10)[7]
musicOMH 3.5/5 stars[8]
Pitchfork Media (3.5/10)[9]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[10]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[11]
Spin (7/10)[12]
Under the Radar 4.5/10 stars[2]

The Sound of the Life of the Mind is the fourth studio album by Ben Folds Five, released on September 18, 2012.[14] It is the group's first release since 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

Production[edit]

In 2011, Ben Folds Five reunited to record three tracks for Ben Folds' The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective.[15] Bolstered by the experience, the band reconvened in Folds' Nashville studio and recorded the bulk of the album over a six-week period between January and February 2012.[16] Following the main tracking session, the band met for a separate two-week session to record main vocals and a final one-week session for background vocals in the week prior to their Bonnaroo Music Festival appearance in June 2012.[17] All but two of the songs on the album are written by Folds. Darren Jessee wrote the song "Sky High" and author Nick Hornby provided unused lyrics from his 2011 collaboration with Folds on the album's title track.[16]

The band considered using producer Caleb Southern, who had produced their first three albums, but he was unavailable.[17] In his place, they turned to producer Joe Pisapia, a multi-instrumentalist and former member of the band Guster.

Of the sessions together, Folds noted that they have enough material for at least two more records.[18]

Crowdfunding and release[edit]

An unmastered version of the album's first single, "Do It Anyway", was released by Ben Folds on his official Facebook page on May 4, 2012, to kick off a grassroots effort to market and promote the album.[19] Though Folds was signed to Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records for his solo work and Jessee was signed to independent label Bar/None Records with his band Hotel Lights, the reformed Ben Folds Five was unsigned. With no label to distribute their new album, on May 7, 2012, the group launched an interactive pre-sale campaign for the press and release of the album on PledgeMusic. The crowdfunding campaign shot to 200% in its first week of being live.[18]

The overwhelmingly successful initiative, dubbed ImaVeePee Records, partnered with Sony Music Entertainment to release the album worldwide. A portion of the funds generated by the campaign, by the total album sales, and by purchases of other Ben Folds Five items through PledgeMusic will be donated to Music Education and Music Therapy, a charity selected specifically by the band.[20]

The fully mixed and mastered album version of "Do It Anyway" was released for digital download on August 6, 2012. In the two weeks leading up to the commercial release of the album, the band hosted full previews of each track via exclusive releases through various music media outlets, including Spin,[21] Conan O'Brien's TeamCoco.com,[22] AOL's Spinner.com,[23] Fuse,[24] Idolator,[25] Rolling Stone,[26] Paste,[27] Yahoo! Music,[28] and MSN's Reverb music blog.[29]

The video to "Do It Anyway", which premiered mid-September 2012, featured the puppets of Fraggle Rock, Chris Hardwick, Rob Corddry, and Anna Kendrick.[30]

Album art[edit]

The album cover features an exclusive piece entitled "Submerged" by artist Eric Joyner, noted for the focus on "robots and donuts" as the main subjects of his work.[31] An adaptation of his 2007 work, "The Collator", "Submerged" is a somber yet whimsical piece showcasing a toy robot sitting thoughtfully on a mossy undersea rock as fish swim about it. The image evokes French sculptor Auguste Rodin's renowned work The Thinker (Le Penseur).

More of Joyner's artwork is featured throughout the physical packaging of the album.

The single for "Do It Anyway" was originally released with artwork by Luther Mosher[32] until the full album was released. Afterwards the album art was attached to the single. It is still being used in some places for promotion.[33]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ben Folds except where noted[34]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Erase Me"       5:15
2. "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later"       4:32
3. "Sky High"   Darren Jessee Jessee 4:42
4. "The Sound of the Life of the Mind"   Nick Hornby Folds 4:10
5. "On Being Frank"       4:33
6. "Draw a Crowd"       4:14
7. "Do It Anyway"       4:23
8. "Hold That Thought"       4:14
9. "Away When You Were Here"       3:30
10. "Thank You for Breaking My Heart"       4:50

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Folds, Ben. "More vocals... | PledgeMusic". PledgeMusic. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  3. ^ Heisel, Scott (September 23, 2012). "Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  4. ^ Reed, Ryan (September 18, 2012). "Ben Folds Five: The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  5. ^ Zaleski, Annie (September 18, 2012). "Ben Folds Five: The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  6. ^ Grant, Sarah (September 20, 2012). "Album Review: Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  7. ^ Warfield, Russell (September 13, 2012). "Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  8. ^ Murphy, John (September 17, 2012). "Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". musicOMH. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  9. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (September 20, 2012). "Ben Folds Five: The Sound of the Life of the Mind". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  10. ^ Troper, Morgan (September 17, 2012). "Ben Folds Five: The Sound of the Life of the Mind". PopMatters. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  11. ^ Lanthier, Joseph Jon (September 21, 2012). "Ben Folds Five: The Sound of the Life of the Mind". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  12. ^ Peisner, David (September 13, 2012). "Ben Folds Five, 'The Sound of the Life of the Mind' (ImaVeePee/Sony Legacy)". Spin. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  13. ^ Monger, James Christopher (September 18, 2012). "Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  14. ^ "Amazon.com: The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind". Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Folds, Ben. "Details On The Upcoming Retrospective Album Announced". Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  16. ^ a b Hyman, Dan (2012-09-05). "Ben Folds Five Craft First New Album in a Decade". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  17. ^ a b "Ben Folds Five Listening Party: "The Sound of the Life of the Mind"". Livestream. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  18. ^ a b Folds, Ben (2012-05-15). "Ben Folds Audio Interview - New Ben Folds Five Record". Blogger. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  19. ^ Folds, Ben. "Ben Folds Facebook Blog". Retrieved 8 Sep 2012. 
  20. ^ "Ben Folds Five To Release 'The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind' September 18th!". Retrieved 8 Sep 2012. 
  21. ^ Martins, Chris (2012-09-05). "Ben Folds Five Return with 'Erase Me': Preview Their First LP in 13 Years". Spin.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  22. ^ Campbell, Tim (2012-09-06). "Ben Folds Five's "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later" - Exclusive New Track". TeamCoco.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  23. ^ Reilly, Dan (2012-09-07). "Ben Folds Five, 'Sky High' -- Song Premiere". Spinner.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  24. ^ "Exclusive: Ben Folds Five Premiere "The Sound of the Life of the Mind"". Fuse.tv. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  25. ^ Daw, Robbie (2012-09-11). "Ben Folds Five’s "On Being Frank": Idolator Premiere". Idolator.com. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  26. ^ "Song Premiere: Ben Folds Five, 'Draw a Crowd'". RollingStone.com. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  27. ^ Evans, Taylor (2012-09-13). "Song Premiere: Ben Folds Five - Hold That Thought". PasteMagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  28. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (2012-09-14). "Exclusive Song Premiere: Ben Folds Five’s "Away When You Were Here"". music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  29. ^ Brown, Mark C. (2012-09-17). "Superb new song from Ben Folds Five". Reverb, the MSN Music Blog. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  30. ^ Official "Do It Anyway" on YouTube
  31. ^ Joyner, Eric. "RobotsAndDonuts Twitter". Retrieved 8 Sep 2012. 
  32. ^ Mosher, Luther. "Do It Anyway Tumblr". Retrieved 26 Sep 2012. 
  33. ^ Mosher, Luther. "Do It Anyway Diffuser". Retrieved 26 Sep 2012. 
  34. ^ Folds, Ben. "Ben Folds Facebook Blog". Retrieved 13 Aug 2012. 

External links[edit]