For your consideration: Ben Folds

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    For your consideration: Ben Folds

    Ben who?  Really.

    A few of us were discussing Ben Folds in another thread, so the time seems right to give Folds our props in a thread.

    In my own experience, it seems that you have the two extremes when it comes to Ben Folds: people who are part of his fan base and admire and love his music, or people who either have not heard of him, or have heard of him peripherally.  This might be due to Folds following his own path musically and while certainly achieving huge success as a musician, he has not been a major arena, high profile, or commercially driven musician.   This is only my experience and opinion, so if this is off the mark, feel free to chime in.

    I was not fully aware of Folds when he was fronting The Ben Folds Five, and discovered the band only after I discovered Folds as a solo artist.  The band, considered an alternative rock band, is actually very difficult to pinpoint as alternative, IMHO.  

    Ben is the alternative answer to Elton John and Billy Joel, who has not gone, and hopefully never will, veering into commercial pop music.  He's remained a true artist.   He seems to have an inner joy, an inner spark that he brings to his music, lyrics and performances. 

    Taken from wikipedia:

    "Folds has described his former band as "punk rock for sissies",[8] and his oddball lyrics often contain nuances of depression, melancholy, self conflict, and humorous sarcasm, often punctuated by profanity."

    Would love to hear if anyone has some favorite songs.   Among some of the most well-known are perhaps:  The Luckiest, Philosophy, Annie Waits, and Brick.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from phsmith8. Show phsmith8's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    i had almost lost hope until i heard "army..."

    that song is witty, resilient, in-your-face, and beautiful all at the same time. 

    he is a genius. as i mentioned in the other thread, his cover of "such great heights" by the postal service is straight up rockin'.

    whatever and ever amen (ben folds five) remains a staple for me.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    My best anecdote about Ben Folds comes from a friend who said, "Man, that guy really plays the s*** out of that piano...it's almost like piano abuse."  Almost, except that Ben really does brutalize his instrument in the interests of his craft.

    I first heard "Underground" in the early 90s, and as an alternative club denizen myself, I was hooked from there.  I love unconventional arrangements, and piano-bass-drums was perfect for a budding jazz-o-phile.  The first album is outstanding, and Whatever And Ever Amen ups both the snark and the vibe.  I think it makes sense to follow his career in order, but it's all good if varying slightly in overall mood.

    But Ben is first and foremost a songwriter - his first professional gig was as a song doctor - and he turns a phrase as well as anyone.  Combined with nearly virtuosic ability on keys and a wicked sense of humor, he can just crank out pop songs like its nobody's business.  He can rip you to shreds or sing you a lullaby, often one right after the other...to Ben it doesn't seem to matter as long as its catchy, punchy and just a bit self-deprecating.

    "Songs For Silverman" stand out to me as his overall strongest LP, while the earlier records are more free-wheeling and punkish.  His best tracks seldom make it to radio, but "Rockin' The Suburbs" might be an exception (the uncut version is typically profane...and hysterical).  I'm also very fond of "Ben Folds Live", which is a good overview of his career and features just Ben and his piano (and a very willing crowd) with a killer versions of "Philosophy" (capped with "Misirlou"), "Army", "The Luckiest" and "Fred Jones, Pt. 2".

    Overall, he's carried the 'just a piano player' torch admirably...and without so many of the cliches I might attach to earlier, older acts or embarrassing ventures into prog rock.
     
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    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    ben folds and regina spekter, sublime
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    In Response to Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds:
    [QUOTE]ben folds and regina spekter, sublime
    Posted by tgihal[/QUOTE]

    Great track! 

    "You Don't Know Me" - off the "Way To Normal" disc....
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    Never did anything for me, but I cannot say I ever really gave their music a chance. I know there is one song I really like, but I have no idea which track.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    Highly recommended, Jessey. (but of course you knew that)  Try "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" or "Jackson Cannery".  The way he uses the fuzz bass to accompany his piano is very cool.

    I would put Ben in more of the Joe Jackson/Elvis Costello mold than, say, Elton John/Billy Joel.  Very literate and not just a little cynical...he's equally great with a 'kiss off' line as with a 'sweet nothing'.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from jkjband. Show jkjband's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    Being a fan of alternative music, I have been aware of Ben Folds for a long time even bought a Ben Folds Five CD, But I bought it used and thats kind of how I've always thought of him good enough to buy , just not to buy new(if you know what I mean) I like his stuff well enough just not enough to get me all that excited about. IMHO

    If it's worth anything you have managed to make me get out the CD and I'm going to put it on as soon as this Buffalo Tom song ends
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    Yeah, definitely should have been more clear that the piano is the only thing Ben Folds has in common with Elton John or Billy Joel.  The minute an artist gets on the piano, I am going to give a listen.  Just my bias.  I guess I was trying to contrast the diff in their commercial success, as piano based ...   Smile

    jessey, just seeing what many of your musical faves are, I can see how Folds would not be on your radar.  

    This *might* be the song you've heard and liked:  Brick. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5EHAqhR1c&feature=related

    And some of the most interesting and fun music has been found in the bargain bin.  I got "Squeeze Singles"  in a bargain bin, and I listen to it (in my car) all the time.  You know how a child loves it when you read the same book over and over (and over and OVER!!) and never seems to get tired of it?  That's how I feel about that CD.  So take out the Ben Folds Five cd, it may become your Squeeze. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from jkjband. Show jkjband's posts

    Re: For your consideration: Ben Folds

    I was a huge Squeeze fan in the early '80s. I saw them a bunch of times.  Great band, happy music.  I got that album and the English Beat's "What Is Beat" and a Roxy Music greatest Hits  album around the same time and was playing them constantly.  And if I remember correctly I ended breaking up with a girl I was going with and she took them.  Which brings us back to Ben Folds Five... " I want my records back" 
     

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