Thursday, January 27, 2005

Never gets old.

The other night my roommate and I were chillin out. He picked up my CD book and asked what album we should toss on. I thought about it for a minute, as I take music very seriously (probably too seriously) and I told him to put on Ben Folds Five's "Whatever and Ever Amen" album. I think Ben Folds' music is awesome, new stuff, old stuff, it doesn't matter. I had just heard a new Ben Folds song that day and thought a listen to this album would be worthwhile. I was definitely right. I bought this album in 7th grade and its one of the best albums I've ever heard.
From beginning to end, the album stays fresh. The themes and approaches to the songs change, but the Ben Folds Five sound is always there. There's something awesome about a piano, bass, and drums. Of all the bands I listen too, there may be no better band at drifting between styles and sounds than Ben Folds Five, maybe the Beatles, but they're beyond comparison. A Beatles comparison that may be fitting has to do with both bands vocal approach. Ben Folds Five's harmonies are very Beatlesque and kind of float above the instrumentation, which is also incredble. The musicians in the band are obviously elite. Obviously, Ben is an incredible piano player, but he doesn't overplay. Then he'll tear into a solo that rivals any Billy Joel or Elton John solo. The bass almost acts like a guitar, in that, there's high levels of distortion and it takes a leading role throught their songs. The drummer also experiments with different beats and makes the right one fit with each melody. Another great aspect of their music is the lyrics. Folds tells stories with really funny lyrics, but also relates seriousness and topics that are controversial. The song "Battle of Who Could Care Less" is one of my favorite songs of all time. It's got a great beat and the lyrics are hilarious. One thing to mention about funny lyrics is, it is important that they're not cheezy, and on this album and most of his others Ben Folds manages to be funny without being cheezy. The band incorporates different instruments as well, such as strings and the occasional clarinet. I can't really say which songs on the album are the best because they're all really excellent.
This album is, without question, one of my favorites of all time. Ben Folds Five was definitely one of the most underrated bands of the 90s. Ben Folds has achieved some level of musical celebrity and is well respected by critics and his fans, but he is truly a musical genius that should be appreciated by the casual music fan the way other piano men, Billy Joel and Elton John are. After 8 years or so of having this album, I can listen to any song off of it at anytime.

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