Ben Folds

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Benjamin Scott Folds is an American singer and songwriter from North Carolina. Until 1998, he was the frontman for Ben Folds Five, a piano-rock band that released three full albums to moderate critical success. The band broke up for unknown reasons, but judging from interviews and the fact that they had a reunion concert, it didn't seem to be a bitter break-up. After 2000, he began a reasonably successful solo career. In addition, he produced Has Been, a surprisingly well-regarded album by William Shatner. His album "Lonely Avenue" was a collaboration with Nick Hornby writing the lyrics.

In 2009, Folds began judging on The Sing-Off, an NBC a capella contest. He's frequently cited as the most competent judge on the panel.

This page Needs More Love.

Discography:

Ben Folds Five

  • Ben Folds Five (1995)
  • Whatever and Ever Amen (1997)
  • Naked Baby Photos (1998) (general mish-mash of odd songs left over from old albums, etc.)
  • The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999)

Ben Folds

  • Rockin' the Suburbs (2001)
  • Songs for Silverman (2005)
  • Way to Normal (2008)
  • Lonely Avenue (2010)
Ben Folds provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Album Title Drop: Rockin' the Suburbs had a single of the same name.
    • Lonely Avenue is also title dropped in the chorus in "Doc Pomus".
    • And Way to Normal's title is dropped in "Effington".
    • "Whatever and Ever Amen" is quoted in "The Battle of Who Could Care Less".
    • The compilation album The Best Imitation of Myself includes the song of the same name.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: From "Rockin the Suburbs,"

It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

  • Break Up Song: A few - "The Last Polka" is probably the first, and "Song For The Dumped" is probably the most well-known.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Parodied in Rockin' the Suburbs.
    • Played straight, if slightly downplayed, in the chorus of Levi Johnston's Blues To quote:

I'm a fuckin' redneck, I live to hang out with the boys,
Play some hockey, do some fishin', and shoot some moose.
I like to shoot the shit, do some chillin' I guess.
You fuck with me and I kick your ass.

    • The chorus is actually taken from an infamous Myspace posting from Johnston.
  • Creator Cameo: In Ben's music video for Weird Al Yankovich, who helped make the video.
  • Epic Riff: Ben frequently does a piano version; notable ones include "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and "Annie Waits".
  • Foiler Footage: His band rerecorded alternate lyrics for all the songs on the Way to Normal album and leaked the "fake" versions on the internet.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Inverted. In the "Song for the Dumped" music video, Folds sings an entire verse and refrain in Japanese until he gets to "You bitch," which he sings in English.
  • Grief Song: "Carrying Cathy"
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Since the piano is Ben's primary instrument, these naturally come up.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Oh, he is a master at this.
    • "Carrying Cathy" is a fairly upbeat, light song about a mentally ill girl committing suicide.
    • "Still Fighting" is a very melancholy song celebrating the birth of Ben's twins.
    • "You Don't Know Me" is a cheery song about a couple who barely know each other and can't figure out why they stay together.
    • "All U Can Eat" is a upbeat, bubbly song about the deterioration of society.
    • "From Above" is an energetic and extremely catchy song. It's also about people never knowing their soul-mates and (presumably) either dying alone or unhappy.
    • "Zak and Sara" is a 50's style rock and roll ballad about a schizophrenic and a drug dealer.
    • "Jesusland" is a rather upbeat tune about the Second Coming of Christ and Jesus becoming disgusted the people who believe in him.
    • His cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit". That is all.
    • "Brick", while not the most happy, is still rather upbeat for a song about his gilfriend's abortion.
    • "Hiroshima" is an energetic song about him attempting to dive into a crowd... only for he crowd to not understand and let him fall. He got a concussion. Depending on how dark you like it, It could double as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • "Password" is a crooning, mellow song about a jealous boyfriend hacking into his ex-girlfriend's email account, only to find out she's been cheating on him this whole time.
    • "Steven's Last Night In Town" is about a self-important asshole... done as a klezmer song.
    • "You to Thank" is probably the happiest song you'll ever hear about marrying too soon and being trapped in a loveless marriage.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Ben Folds Five only had three members in it.
  • Precision F-Strike: "The Battle of Who Could Care Less", "Rockin' The Suburbs", among others
  • Shameless Self Promoter: In Rocking the Suburbs:

Y'all don't know what it's like
Being male, middle class, and white.
It's a bitch if you don't believe.
Listen up to my new CD!

  • Shout-Out: Ode to Merton
    • Several in Rocking the Suburbs, including Michael Jackson, Queit Riot, and Jon Bon Jovi.
    • From the chorus of Doc Pomus:

"I'm rockin' the suburbs!
Just like Michael Jackson did!
I'm rockin' the suburbs!
Except that he was talented!
I'm rockin' the suburbs!
I take the checks and face the facts
That some producer with computers
Fixes all my shitty tracks!"

    • Also present in "Army," which was based on a conversation Ben had with his dad (quoted at the beginning of the song) and parodying his early years.
  • Teasing Creator: "Uncle Walter." When asked if the song was about a real person, Ben and the band would make up outrageous stories.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: There's Always Someone Cooler Than You Well, it's more of a "The Guy the Song is Directed to is an Asshole" Song, but the feeling's still there.