Monday, April 18, 2005

Ben Folds Five Two

Casey Dorrell

As promised, here's some more about Ben Folds:

Mr. Folds
Ben Folds: Best Experienced as Auditory Only

Ah, Mr. Folds. His new album, "Songs for Silverman," comes out on April 26th of this year, a little over a week from now. It's been almost four full years since his first release sans the five, "Rockin' The Suburbs." That album wasn't so much a departure as a continuation of the Ben Folds Five discography, but the drop of five should serve as a warning to anyone creating a band. Pick a dumb name, pick a funny name, pick an obvious name but don't simply name your band after your lead singer. Ben Folds buddies did this, Dave Matthews' bandmates thought this was a good idea, Matthew Good's pals were up for it... You're smarter than them.

In the years since "Rockin' the Suburbs," Folds has toured extensively, released a live album, and, more recently, released a set of three internet-only eps. Meaning that they were only available for purchase from the net, not that they were free. As with most internet-based endeavours of this sort, it was an attempt to connect with his audience outside the artificial box constructed by constraints of conglomorate record labels. Or something.

Folds explains, "the box that everyone talks about thinking outside of is just getting smaller and smaller. There are less and less companies and more and more large, almost monopolistic, big fucking corporations."Adding "I thought, There's the Internet. And I can make short, five-song records, get them out damn fast, get them to the fans, and not worry too much that they have to be polished to compete with something that I don't even understand."

The Bens

In addition to the three eps, there was a self-titled project with the group "The Bens." The Bens being Folds, Ben Lee, and the fantastic Ben Kweller. Folds also produced the latest album from William Shatner, "Has Been." Folds says of the album, "I think it's a great record. I thought it was a great record before it was recorded!" This might explain his enthusiasm - he hasn't listened to it. In Shatner's defense, it's not nearly as bad or as funny as you might expect.

"Songs for Silverman" will feature a song, "Late" about the late music genius, Elliot Smith. In a Rolling Stone interview Folds said, "I was playing all the same shitholes he was," Folds said. "The lyrics of the song are about people who are sharing your experience too-- 'Oh, Elliott Smith did this club last night, and he sat in that same room and read all the shit about dicks and asses on the wall.' He went on to mention, "I played [basketball] with him and Beck one time, and Elliott was just fucking throwing elbows like there was no tomorrow." Yeah, I used to play basketball with Elliot, Beck, and Ben all the time. It was fun, but Elliot was a bit of a sissy so it always ended in tears.

Elliot Smith
Elliot Smith Sitting Out Another Game

As far as the direction of the new album, judging from the first single, "Landed," and the entire discography of Ben Folds Five, there won't be any surprises. Folds does two songs: the "oh-so-ironic rock god with piano deprecation" song and the "introspective wistful" song. His last album had more of the latter and less of the former. There aren't any of the collaborations you might expect, no Shatner, Beck, or Kweller. Instead? Well, on "Time" we get back-up vocals from . . . Weird Al Yankovich. Uh huh.

The album will come out on dual disc (the newest format growing in popularity on which one side features the 2.1 CD audio and the other 5.1 DVD audio). The DVD side will also have a half-hour behind the scenes video. A special edition will be available, but there's nothing special about it. It will be in the requisite inconvienently large packaging with a booklet full of pictures. The special edition will also come with a 40 minute "making of" DVD. Pre-order the album with to recieve a limited edition CD entitled "Songs For Goldfish" with 10 unreleased tracks. (Note: Hiro's Song is on it, and I'm sure this has been released)

Ben Folds - Rare and unreleased mp3s (Must be about 100)
Ben Folds - Live at Foellinger [04-04-2004]
Ben Folds - Live at Enmore
Ben Folds - Landed video [Mirror] [Stream]
Ben Kweller - I Need You Back
Elliot Smith - When I Paint My Masterpiece (Dylan cover)

Related Posts:
The End of Black Tuesday?

Ben Folds - The Rise of Satan

Comments on "Ben Folds Five Two"


Blogger Sven said ... (18/4/05 7:45 am) : 

"Ben Folds: Best Experienced as Auditory Only." That's hilarious.



Anonymous blueskelton said ... (18/4/05 6:17 pm) : 

Ben gets nerdier and nerdier but he puts on a good show i have seen BF5 twice


Blogger Ant said ... (19/4/05 4:10 am) : 

Thanks for the comment on my blog.
Have booked marked yours. Nice one..

Ant (wiam)


Blogger Jude Nagurney Camwell said ... (19/4/05 11:57 am) : 

Ben is one of my favorites. Thanks for the heads-up on the upcoming release. I love your blog.


Blogger Chion said ... (20/4/05 10:21 pm) : 

i was gonna name myself the Chion Wolf Quartet, but thanks to you, i've realized that that's jumping the gun a bit- there's no three other people here to leave me!

so i'm gonna go by Negative One Plus 2 Chion Wolf Society.

I think that's better too. ;)



Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (21/4/05 5:19 am) : 

no no, you leave the other three, not the reverse. ;)


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