Ignored Obscured Restored
How do you feel about Ben Folds? I first heard of him when he released his second album as the Ben Folds Five (there were only 3 people in the band), Whatever and Ever Amen (1997) – that’s the one with one of his most well-known songs, Brick.”
I kind of liked his sense of humor and self-deprecation. At the time he described the groups sound as “punk rock for sissies.”
The band’s guitarless lineup of piano (Folds), bass (Robert Sledge) and drums (Darren Jessee) made them stand out against other popular groups of the day. I often thought they sounded a bit like Todd Rundgren on some of his more poppy, piano-based hits, like “Hello It’s Me.”
Take a listen to the SotW, “The Battle of Who Could Care Less,” from Whatever… to see if you hear the similarity.
“Battle…” exemplifies the previously mentioned self-deprecating humor. The song is about a guy who’s competing to prove his “coolness” by being aloof and indifferent.
you not hear me anymore?
I know it’s not your thing to care
I know it’s cool to be so bored
It sucks me in when you’re aloof
It sucks me in, it sucks, it works
I guess it’s cool to be alone
This should cheer you up for sure
See, I’ve got your old I.D.
And you’re all dressed up like the Cure
Will you never rest
Fighting the battle of who could care less
You’re my hero, I confess
Pretty funny stuff!
Folds indie cred was burnished through his work as the producer of the first solo album by the provocative performance artist, Amanda Palmer (formerly of The Dresden Dolls).
But somehow, I hold it against him that he was a judge on a TV singing show – the a capella contest The Sing Off, that was on NBC for five years. That’s not very hip in my book. Then again, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith agreed to judge American Idol for two seasons. So who knows?
Enjoy… until next week.