Note: the CD I listened to was not the 2005 reissue.
In 1997, I was flipping channels one day and caught a brief promotional interview with Ben Folds. The dialogue was interspersed with song clips and the piano-based rock immediately caught my attention for two reasons: 1) there's not a lot of piano-based rock out there anymore, and 2) I thought the songwriting sounded a lot like Billy Joel (probably because of the piano). I immediately bought the CD and it turned out to be my best purchase of the year. I thought I would like a few songs, but Folds' lo-fi pop songwriting is so good, I liked the whole thing and it was immediately put in heavy rotation. We get a little taste of different genres throughout from straight ahead rock to ballads to waltzes to klezmer to power pop. Faithful readers of this blog know that I don't normally pay attention to lyrics, but Folds' sense of humor almost forces me to listen. And if the misogynistic lyrics to Brick don't hit you right in the gut, nothing will.
So today, after too long an absence, this disc is headed to my truck for some open road listening.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #42
Tracks: My favorites have always been One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces, Song For The Dumped, and Battle Of Who Could Care Less. but Ten years ago, I put together a list of 30 "desert island" pop/rock discs and this made the cut because it's so dang consistently good. Normally, I can't stand hidden tracks, but the one on this CD is at least funny.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Along with the band's first album which I purchased almost immediately after hearing this one, I remember listening to Whatever And Ever Amen in my little maroon Honda Civic on my way to teach 8th grade English, 1997-1998. Man, that was a long year in the classroom.
Previously revisited for the blog:
The Sound of the Life of the Mind (2012)
Lonely Avenue (2010)
Naked Baby Photos (1998)
Ben Folds Five (1995)