Posted by: Tobias | August 15, 2008

Ben Folds, Internet prankster

Back in July, there was quite a ruckus on the Ben Folds message boards. A supposed leak of his upcoming album “Way to Normal” had shown up in various places on the web and on several file sharing networks. But something didn’t seem quite right: many of the songs not only sounded completely different from how he had played them at recent gigs, some even had entirely different lyrics.

Throw in the fact that most of the recordings sounded a little rough and unpolished and so it didn’t take long for some to suggest that Ben had just slapped together some demo versions and discarded experiments and leaked this “album” himself. Others, of course, dismissed this as pure conspiracy theory and defended the album as the real deal.

Turns out, the conspiracy theorists were right al along as Ben himself admits in a Rolling Stone interview. Apparently he and his two band members just decided to have a little fun and improvised alternative versions of six songs during a studio session in Dublin. Ben then passed these recordings on to some Internet-savvy friends of his who posted them on the web.

The Rolling Stone Interview above has side-by-side comparisons of the fake and the real versions of the songs so give them a listen. So far I like “Free Coffee” the best of the new songs. That almost synthesizer sound he achieves by packing the piano with Altoid cans is very cool.

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