ben folds five - whatever & ever amen


.:: Ben Folds' Five's Whatever and Ever Amen is a fantastic collection of songs from a band beginning to believe in itself as something more than a novelty act. Having excised much of their regrettable tendency to flippancy with their first album, the three members of Ben Folds Five delivered a classic follow-up: the single "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" is a witheringly witty character study of middle-class wasters that could be thought of as an American companion piece to Pulp's "Common People". Angry and articulate, Whatever and Ever Amen is a rewarding exploration of the hitherto virgin territory between Elvis Costello and Jerry Lee Lewis. It also contained the instant live favourite "Song for the Dumped", which in one transcendentally splendid moment--Folds' exuberant yelp of "Well, fuck you, too / Give me my money back, you bitch"--managed to make the rest of rock's vast canon of unrequited affection feel somewhat redundant. --Andrew Mueller

Think of Ben Folds as Billy Joel minus the Tin Pan Alley heritage and armed with a sweet, wry, slacker ethos. In a guitar-free trio setting, the Chapel Hill smart guy pounds the ivories with gusto while singing a tremendous batch of funny ("Kate"), poignant ("Brick," "Evaporated"), pissed-off ("Song for the Dumped"), and hugely refreshing (all 12 tunes here) songs. --Jeff Bateman

For just a three piece (Ben Folds: piano/lead vocals ; Darren Jesse: drums/vocals and Robert Sledge on bass/vocals) the sound is powerful, and surprisingly flexible. On a first listening to the outright boisterous stomping of the opening track 'One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces' you may be forgiven to assume that here we have a rocked up, swearing, 90's equivalent to the Beach Boys. That wouldn't be a bad thing, of course, but as the album unfolds (excuse the pun) you soon discover the versatility of these three absolutely clever musicians. You can throw as many influences into the bag here; lyrically Folds has been compared to Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson for his occasional cutting, kind of revenge-esque remarks, musically names thrown into the hat are Billy Joel and even Elton John. But the truth of the matter is nobody can really pinpoint Ben Folds Five' sound; people should sometimes stop try and compare artists and enjoy the artist in their own right. By the time we reach the final track, 'Evaporated', we've been taken through a fantastic musical journey of rock ('Song for the dumped'), catchy pop ('Kate'), jazz ('Stevens Last Night In Town') and some really incredible, dark reflective moments ('Selfless cold and composed'). But every song is still gloriously stamped with that amazing Ben Folds Five intelligent but careless sound, witty and honest, slack and trendy, but generously performed.

.:: Hay que reconocer que la música de Ben Folds Five es difícil de tragar a la primera. Esa mezcla de jazz con rock en la que prima el piano por sobre todos los demás instrumentos, y que termina por convertirse en un pop muy sofisticado, no es exactamente lo que uno espera de un trío de jóvenes que deberían cargar la guitarra a cuestas. Lo que sucede es que Ben Folds Five no espera convertirse en un fenómeno comercial. De hecho ‘‘Brick’’, el mayor éxito que han tenido en su carrera y que pertenece a su álbum Whatever & Ever Amen (1997), no suele escucharse en sus conciertos, según el mismo Ben Fold (vocalista y líder de la banda) porque una vez que la grabó, no pudo volver a cantarla bien. Que son originales y muy difíciles de imitar, no hay la menor duda. Con su cuarto álbum, el trío de Carolina del Norte lo que ha hecho es aumentar el grado de sofisticación que empezó en Whatever & Ever Amen El piano, el bajo y la batería con los que la banda construye su música son los responsables de ese sonido clásico que acompaña canciones llenas de cruda humanidad.

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Anonymous said...

Gracias por este magnífico post. Admirando el tiempo y el esfuerzo que puso en su blog y la información detallada que usted ofrece.

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