Song of the Day #867: ‘Julianne’ – Ben Folds Five

Track three of Ben Folds Five takes things in a whole new direction. ‘Julianne’ is a thrash punk screed, complete with crashing bottles in the background. It’s loud, messy and a whole lot of fun.

Folds slurs his way through the lyrics, sounding like he really did wake up after a drunken one night stand before he entered the recording studio.

‘Julianne’ shows just how grungy a piano, bass and drums outfit can be when it wants to. Robert Sledge turns the distortion up on his bass until it sounds like something off of a Nirvana album, Darren Jesse bangs the hell out of his drums and Folds punishes his piano.

Despite the sonic onslaught, lyrically the song is quite interesting. It depicts a man dealing with his break-up from Julianne by having one-night stands and claiming steadfastly that he doesn’t miss her.

It’s hard to take him at his word. Generally when somebody keeps pointing out that they’re over their ex, that’s a pretty good sign they’re totally not over their ex. The singer talks big, saying he “feel[s] guilty for not giving a shit,” but his repeated claim that “I don’t miss Julianne” starts to sound like a desperate cry for help by the end of the song.

I met this girl
She looked like Axl Rose
Got drunk and took her home
And we slept in our clothes
And in the morning
Put my feet on the floor
And thought
Being awake never felt
Like this before

And Julianne you know
She wouldn’t approve
Talked all day on the phone
‘Cause I had nothing to do
Got rid of Axl by the afternoon
Being awake never felt
So clear and blue

That’s all I knew
Guess that I was innocent too
I’ll sing a song yeah
And it won’t be the blues
‘Cause I don’t miss Julianne

My friend she told me
She felt sorry for me
She said the truth would
Come crashing down on me
That I’d be sorry,
But the truth of it is
That I feel guilty for
Not giving a shit


I got a bag of trash
I got my bag of trash
I walk it up and down
And drag it up and down the road
How could she miss a man
Who drags a bag of trash
Down the road?

This week I feel
Like I’ve been born again
I know that Julianne
She would have a fit
She’d find a reason for
The things that I did
And give me credit
For the things that I never been



3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #867: ‘Julianne’ – Ben Folds Five

  1. Dana says:

    As I have previously mentioned, I’m not a fan of punk. But punk in the hands of Ben Folds is infinitely more palatable. This song is pure unabashed fun.

  2. Amy says:

    I appreciate this song, but I don’t particularly like it, and I don’t find it fun. Too thrashy I guess. This is closer to the frat boy Ben Folds that I can happily do without. Give me “Gracie” or “Brick” any day over this.

  3. Clay says:

    It helps to have some balance to the softer songs. I agree that Folds can sometimes go overboard with the frat guy stuff, but I don’t think this song is an example.

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