Ben Folds – “Phone In A Pool”

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Kids these days. They don’t appreciate musical history and they’re all glued to their bright blue mobiles. Except it’s not just the kids who are screen addicts anymore. Folds’ latest offering from his upcoming yMusic collab So There is “Phone In A Pool”, and it’s basically about exactly what it sounds like. Ben is back to his old tricks – quirky 123-123-12 piano rhythms, infant orchestral instruments popping in and out of the mix, and goofy weird-kid-in-class phrasings like “y’all knows what I means.” But in standard Foldsian fashion, the song isn’t as simple as what meets the ears.

It’s easy to hate on technology; we’re dependent on the communication that it makes so easy. For a musician, it doesn’t take too many shows to get frustrated looking into an audience and seeing only a sea of passive, omnipresent recording devices in place of rapt fans. That frustration is made doubly tricky because social media is a key ingredient to musical success in the quarter-life aughts. Further, we make it possible to broadly blame failed relationships, in part, on the short attention spans and emptiness that tech has gifted us. But technology isn’t actually controlling us – we simply choose to keep calm and keep using it. Folds’ discography is full of songs about responsibility and blame, and where it should be placed, and why it ends up getting placed elsewhere. In “Phone In A Pool”, Folds  does just what the title bluntly states, in Mardi Gras country no less; but when he breaks down and ends up “back on your sofa in a puddle in a couple of weeks” and continues scrolling, glazy-eyed, through clicky content, he knows it’s on him: “I won’t / I won’t / I won’t / I won’t blame New Orleans.”

So There is being released by New West Records on September 11. Listen to “Phone In A Pool” on the label’s SoundCloud, here (and there are simpler ways of disconnecting that won’t cost your parents hundreds of dollars, so, you know, be safe with your motherboards.)

Though originally from Virginia, Kelsey recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a cavalcade of neat degrees. She's written for other sites like Wide Open Country, Half Past, Seeing Trees Music, The Cropper, InfUSion Magazine, and Blurt. Kelsey’s greatest weakness is a large bowl of pho, and though she doesn’t know it yet, her friends will soon host a soup intervention for her. In her spare time she enjoys exploring abandoned buildings, crafting dad-humor puns, collecting vintage key chains, writing long lists that utilize the Oxford comma, and acting like Larry David.

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