Fear Of Pop - Volume OneThis side project from the Ben Folds Five frontman is billed as an “album of instrumental and spoken word music by Ben Folds” and Caleb Southern (the latter being the producer of the Ben Folds Five albums so far). And of course, its other main claim to fame is that it features the vocal stylings of one Mr. William Shatner on the song/rant “In Love”. The song in question consists of a standard modern-day synth-R&B backing vocal, while Shatner – as a frighteningly embittered rejected lover – proclaims his newfound disdain for the (former) object of his affections in a classic Shatner-esque performance. He doesn’t actually sing, so this is easily Shatner’s best musical appearance on record. Another attention-getter is the quasi-rap “I Paid My Money”, a song whose lyrics – “I see people leaving early, they don’t know what they’re missing, they don’t know what they’re missing, they’re missing half the movie!” – almost sound like an ode to everyone who paid full admission price just to see the trailer of a certain upcoming George Lucas opus. It’s also hilarious when Ben calmly announces “Funky bass!” in his unmistakable-for-anything-but-white voice. As an amusing diversion, Fear Of Pop fits the bill nicely, but it will probably come as a shock to those who are used to even the wildest Ben Folds Five tunes. Unlike those songs, Folds makes use of guitars, 2 out of 4synths, samples, and just about everything you could think of as the antithesis of the Ben Folds Five sound. There’s something distinctly late-1980s about the feel of Fear Of Pop. If you’re expecting to get a laugh out of this, go ahead and pick it up. If, on the other hand, you’re expecting more Ben Folds Five smoothness, you might want to wait until this hits the cutout bin.

Order this CD

  1. Fear Of Pop (3:26)
  2. Kops (6:08)
  3. Slow Jam ’98 (4:50)
  4. Blink (1:24)
  5. In Love / guest vocals: William Shatner (4:46)
  6. Interlude (0:22)
  7. Avery M. Powers Memorial Beltway (5:59)
  8. I Paid My Money (3:16)
  9. Rubber Sled (4:56)
  10. Root To This (5:09)
  11. Still In Love (1:26)

Released by: Sony / 550
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 41:44