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Ben Folds, a very hot topic

by Ryan Torok

December 24, 2009 | 2:28 am

Ben Folds is oddly really popular right now and also almost Jewish (but not really)

Ben Folds is a hot topic right now. Because he is one of the judges of a current holiday special airing on NBC – the show is called ‘Sing Off’ and it’s like ‘American Idol’ except the contestants sing A Capella—his name was the #1 most searched phrase on Google. There are YouTube videos of him discussing his gig on the show, videos that have been removed due to complaints and their violation of terms of use, but they come with a message that they can be viewed by clicking on the link to the rink and that this link has been provided because these videos are in such high demand. Only, if you click on this link, you still can’t see the video because the players are busy.

What the heck is going on? Being a judge on this show is enough to make Ben Folds this popular? Back when he released my by far favorite album of his, “Rocking the Suburbs”, nobody cared—the indifference to the album was probably heighted by the fact that it was released on September 11, 2001. Anyway, on the title track, the nerdy, bespectacled and sort-of smart-alecky singer/songwriter/pianist sang: I’m rocking the suburbs, just like Michael Jackson did. I’m rocking the suburbs, except that he was talented. Indeed, the self-loathing has always been strong in Folds. That is his shtick. He hates himself so much he almost sounds Jewish.

It’s funny: I was pretty positive Folds wasn’t Jewish, but I googled “is Ben Folds Jewish?” just to make sure. The first result that came up was an article called “Ben Folds sets his Jewish record straight.” It was from an obscure Israeli newspaper. The article mentions that Folds used to perform at Bar Mitzvahs and is obsessed with klezmer music, but he isn’t Jewish. This is despite the fact that he named another one of his solo albums “Songs for Silverman.”

Anyway, I guess it’s cool Folds is finally getting his due. Even if he had to appear on a reality show hosted by Nick Lachey to get it, his talent deserves to be recognized.

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