Ben Folds Five
Whatever and Ever, Amen


5.0
classic

Review

by Pechorin USER (23 Reviews)
November 30th, 2005 | 22 replies | 10,292 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Alright; it's been a very long time since I've done one of these, but here goes...

Ben Folds has repeatedly been compared to such greats in the piano world as Elton John and Billy Joel. This album is a prime example of why. Folds is an excellent piano player, and he has great ability in writing a wide variety of songs. He can be very funny, sad, and angry as Hell. The band has about the heaviest songs in pop music, and they don't even have a guitar player. If you are interested in the style of Billy Joel or Elton John, this is a must have album. Time for my old style of reviewing each individual song:

One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces -- This is a great starter to any album. It's an amusing piece with heavy drums, piano, and very fuzzy bass. It's amazing to hear this song and realize that it is not driven by guitar. As Ben tells us all how high school was for him, we can't help but chuckle. Then, Ben amazes all with his piano solo towards the end.

Fair -- As soon as the last song is over, we get a hint of the Five's serious side. The song is pretty straightforward, and the bridge section features some amazing vocal harmonies. As the song drifts off, it ends with some piano improv and a nice bass line.

Brick -- If you listened to pop radio anytime around when this album came out, you've heard this ubiquitous song. It starts with a lonely piano arpeggio that makes you feel like you're riding to the clinic along with Ben. The song slowly builds throughout into an emotional bridge, then fades off into the ending.

Song For the Dumped -- This is perhaps the angriest song ever written. Ben mad. Ben smash. Ben kicks some serious butt on the piano. The sheer volume of the piano in this song is incredible. There is also an interesting piano break towards the end. Let's say that if I were the girl who dumped him, I'd be giving him his black T-Shirt ASAP.

Selfless, Cold, and Composed -- Probably my fovorite song on here. This piece sounds almost like a straight jazz piece, and it shows that BFF does have a soft side. The melody of the piano and the light drums in the background are amazing. Throw in Ben's incredible lyrics and the amazing string section, and you have a classic song right here.

Kate -- Another more amusing song, this always can make you chuckle when you hear it. However, Ben still maintains amazing piano work and vocal harmonies. A pretty straightforward song, but good nonetheless.

Smoke -- Another serious song, on this Ben plays a different instrument (Bandoneon, maybe). I'll admit it's not one of my favorite songs on the album, but it still has a good emotional and musical impact.

Cigarette -- A very short song, this is just Ben and a piano. Very emotional and slow, it captures the anguish of Fred Jones (only to be released from his job during "Fred Jones, Part 2" on Rockin' the Suburbs) as he deals with issues at home.

Steven's Last Night in Town -- The silly songs are back. This time, it's augmented with a strong horn section and clarinet. In fact, the song has a strong New Orleans swing feel to it. Very good.

Battle of Who Could Care Less -- A nice upbeat song; this one is pretty simple and straightforward. Again, the band exhibits great musicianship and vocal harmonies (Unearned unhaaaappyness). One of my other favorites on the album.

Missing the War -- This song could challenge Selfless for most emotional song on the album. It starts out at a whisper with a lonely piano bit. By the end, it has exploded into a fury with drums and bass. Ben's lonely vocals make you feel as if you've missed the war right along with him, too. Darren's drum fills are some of the best I've ever heard, and Robert's bass is as soli as ever. Great song.

Evaporated -- A fitting end to a great album. After the crescendo in the previous song, this one, again, starts at a relative whisper. Robert's bowed bass adds a lot of emotional depth to this song, as well. Then, as quietly as it started, it fades away into one lonely hit on Darren's ride cymbal.

If you in any way like the piano rock, you need to pick this album up. If you are the kind of person turned off by "Brick" after hearing it so much, you should still check out this album, as there are other, much stronger songs on the album. Hope you enjoy it.

--Paul--

Addendum: As for why I gave this five stars, this is my reasoning -- I feel this is a classic, though underrated album of the 1990's and for piano rock in general. Folds is the Elton John of this generation, and this is the classic Folds album. I know a lot of people think 5's are handed out too easily, but I feel WAEA deserves a 5 because of this.



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user ratings (227)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
morrissey
Moderator
November 30th 2005



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very nice work Paul. I have this record but I haven't listened to it in ages, I need to break it out again. I'd give it a 3.5/5 or something like that but I'd need to refresh my memory to give an accurate rating.

Do more reviews, it's nice to see you back around here (well it's a different site now, but still).

Pechorin
November 30th 2005



160 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I have lots of Ben Folds Stuff...I may do the S/T BFF album tonight.

CushMG15
November 30th 2005



1802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid Review of a great album. This is his only work that I own. Any suggestions on what his next best is, minus his live disc?

Zebra
Moderator
November 30th 2005



2647 Comments


The first track is amazing, the piano part is awesome. Other than that I have no knowledge of Ben Folds.

Auldy
November 30th 2005



351 Comments


'...no knowledge of Ben Folds. '

What the hell man, he is a champion! In this band, and as a solo musician!

Brick is my favourite song of this album, nice review Paul, now you just need to fix the formating on your other BF5 review.

Pechorin
November 30th 2005



160 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Working on the other one. The site is being slow for me, but it's in the works. I don't know why mx stuff always does the weird spacing whenever I use it, though...It was a lot easier before Sputnik.

I'd recommend the Self-Titled disk next. It has some great, unheard of songs on it.

On The Edge
December 1st 2005



27 Comments


Nice review,

Smoke is one of my favourites off this album.

IvortheEngineDriver
February 25th 2006



164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very awesome album!

I got this for Brick and its one of those albums that I fell in love with. Selfless, Cold and Composed is just phenominal...a very sold, great album by an underrated musician.

Pechorin
February 28th 2006



160 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I liked Brik, but as good a song as it is, I think there are easily five or six songs that are better than it on the album. That's how strong an album it is.

mx
Moderator
February 28th 2006



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely. The whole album is great

ktstein
April 13th 2006



438 Comments


Good stuff...and a nice review. Ben Folds is awesome, but so is jump little children, if you're into this kind of music.

surp23
June 6th 2006



6 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

definitely their best stuff.. great album

lilyonemppa
June 22nd 2006



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album's pretty awesome, easily their most solid effort...Steven's Last Night in Town, Selfless Cold and Composed, One Angry Dwarf and Video killed the radio star (from the bonus version) are all sweet

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



15693 Comments


The only BFF song I've ever heard is "Air" off the Godzilla soundtrack. I love that song.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins® [AMDISCS]

Pyramidman
June 22nd 2006



1340 Comments


BFF are really good, but i like his solo stuff better

Deth
June 22nd 2006



13 Comments


Hey! My account can't post on the forums. I'm not banned. It worked the other day. Please alert this post to a Mod.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2007



15693 Comments


Well I'll be damned if Brick isn't a fucking good song.

Piglet
December 12th 2009



4644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so good

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2011



8957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ben Folds Five is an answer on roughly 50% of music-related sporcle quizzes

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

TheMushuPork
April 14th 2012



462 Comments


Ben Folds makes voice cracks oh so cool.



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