The celebrated-but-defunct trio (no, not quintet) Ben Folds Five may have split some eight years ago, but its former members have been quite busy in recent times. Drummer Darren Jessee is prepping his sophomore turn under the Hotel Lights moniker, and now, bandleader and namesake Ben Folds is gearing up to release Way to Normal, his third solo effort and follow up to 2005’s Songs for Silverman, set to drop Sept. 30 via Epic.
Despite having recently finalized his divorce, Normal is, according to Folds, a more upbeat affair than Silverman, asserting that, “This new album is really about me being free, which is why it feels cathartic and expressive… I felt like a bottle of champagne that had been shaken for 18 months and popped open in the studio. That’s why this record has so much energy.” In addition to the mood shift, Normal also features a guest turn by like-minded songwriter and pianist Regina Spektor on the record’s forthcoming first single, “You Don’t Know Me.”
But with the flurry of activity from the Folds camp, one question remains: Robert Sledge, where are you?