Song of the Day #1,001: ‘Evaporated’ – Ben Folds

And so I begin my next 1,000 songs.

‘Evaporated’ is the final track on Ben Folds Five’s sophomore album, Whatever and Ever Amen. It’s slow and angsty and one of the best examples in Ben Folds’ whole catalog of him being introspective.

Folds is so fast and funny so often than he really earns his more somber and thoughtful moments. For a guy so steeped in irony, an earned tear is a rare and lovely thing. He shares that quality with one of his idols, Randy Newman, who has written his own share of songs like this one.

I don’t think Folds gets the credit he deserves as a lyricist. Time after time I’m blown away by the poetry in his songs, especially the way he speaks so conversationally about matters so profound. His wisdom feels almost accidental.

Look at this verse: “Don’t you know I’m numb, man, no I can’t feel a thing at all. ’Cause it’s all smiles and business these days and I’m indifferent to the loss. I’ve faith that there’s a soul somewhere who’s leading me around. I wonder if she knows which way is down.”

The most powerful moment in this song comes in the bridge. “I poured my heart out,” he cries. “It evaporated… see.” That “see” always kills me.

Here’s a clip of Folds performing the song with a symphony orchestra.

What I’ve kept with me
And what I’ve thrown away
Don’t know where the hell I’ve ended up
On this glary, random day
Were the things i really cared about
Just left along the way
For being to pent up and proud

Woke up way too late
Feeling hung over and old
And the sun was shining bright
And i walked barefoot
Down the road
Started thinking about
My old man
It seems that all men
Wanna get into a car and go

Here i stand – sad and free
I can’t cry and I can’t see
What I’ve done
God, what have I done

Don’t you know I’m numb, man
No i can’t feel a thing at all
’cause it’s all smiles and business
These days
And I’m indifferent to the loss
I’ve faith that there’s a soul somewhere
Who’s leading me around
I wonder if she knows
Which way is down


I poured my heart out
I poured my heart out
It evaporated. . .see?

Blind man on a canyon’s edge
Of a panoramic scene
Or maybe I’m a kite
That’s flying high and random
Dangling a string
Or slumped over in a vacant room
Head on a stranger’s knee
I’m sure back home
They think I’ve lost my mind.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,001: ‘Evaporated’ – Ben Folds

  1. Dana says:

    Wonderful song, and good discovery of this live version.

    I agree that Folds is a very good lyricist–profound and down to earth at the same time, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.

  2. Amy says:

    The Model
    I’ve Been Delivered
    I Want You

    You may have poured your heart out, but, I can assure you, it didn’t evaporate. It’s here, on these “pages” and in the memory of those of us who have been your faithful readers. I, for one, have enjoyed every minute of your 1000+ entries. Regardless of whether you intended the titles you chose thise week to be revelatory, I think there is almost a haiku’s worth of wisdom there. 🙂

    And, yes, I very much love Ben Folds in this mold. This version is just wonderful. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

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