Ben Folds 

Super D (Epic)

The long-awaited third EP in piano-man Ben Folds's mini-album trilogy -- available only online at www.attackedbyplastic.com or by download -- is a polarizing disc.

Those unable to stomach his ivory-tickled smirk and '70s rock impersonations will find Super D a painful listen. The somber introspection of "Kalamazoo" contains such lines as "How many of me would it take to screw up your life?/One to settle down, one to turn you around," while "Rent a Cop" is a typical Folds character sketch, laden with horns and wit ("I gotta stand here two more hours, until it's Miller time"). "Cop" is the weakest track on the disc, especially in comparison to what follows -- a swinging cover of "Them That Got" by the late Ray Charles.

Still, Folds has the last laugh; the histrionic hair metal of the Darkness has nothing on his manic version of their "Get Your Hands Off My Woman." The song rattles and rolls like a prog-Broadway showstopper teeming with Fosse dancers -- and Folds's hilarious falsetto rendition of the, er, mother of all expletives.


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