Ben Folds will be the first to tell you he’s an unconventional icon, more normcore than hardcore. Now, in his first book, Folds looks back at his life so far in a chronicle of his artistic coming of age.
Once an artist plays their first sold-out show, or signs their first record deal, or spends their first holiday in Biarritz with Mick and Bianca, they are no longer relatable human beings ... It’s an unbridgeable gap, one that Ben Folds, a singer, pianist and musical Everyman whose relatability seems to have been factory-issued, does his best to navigate in his engaging and solid new memoir ... It’s about as pure an extension of Folds’s naturalistic musical voice as it’s possible to get ... It’s a predictable, celebrity-memoir-narrative arc — obscurity, unfulfilling celebrity, downward spiral, self-help — that even an iconoclast like Folds ultimately can’t resist.
Ben Folds’ memoir, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, is as refreshingly iconoclastic as the extraordinary career of its author ... Folds writes with self-deprecating wit, as well as deep sincerity and earnest belief in the concept of what Folds’ father calls 'cheap lessons'—which Folds himself defines as missteps with 'severe-enough consequences for my actions that I might learn something but not so severe that I would end up losing a limb.' The point, Folds suggests, is not to avoid mistakes or suffering, but to be capable of moving forward.
Folds is introspective as he talks about forming Ben Folds Five in the mid ‘90s, then about the band’s abrupt breakup and his solo career. In keeping with the vulnerability he values in his songwriting, he includes brief reflections on family and four marriages that ended in divorce. The book shines when Folds examines his creative process, reflects on pop music, and talks about the power of creative visualization. A Dream about Lightning Bugs is written with an honesty, humor, and a profanity that fans of his music will recognize and appreciate.