Song of the Day #3,375: ‘Long Way To Go’ – Ben Folds

Today’s Random iTunes Selection comes from Ben Folds’ 2015 album So There, a collaboration with chamber music ensemble yMusic. The album contains eight pop songs as well as Folds’ three-movement ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ (which I’ll admit, I listened to only once). The songs are mostly great, though.

‘Long Way To Go’ is an interesting track, in that it seems to be about itself. When Folds sings “we got just five minutes” there are exactly five minutes left in the song. Likewise with the “just three minutes” and “just one minute” verses. So is the whole song about getting to the end of the song? Or did Folds just time things out that way as an added challenge while writing about something more universal?

Ben Folds super-fans will recognize the chorus of ‘Long Way To Go’ from an odd experiment the songwriter tried seven years earlier. In advance of Folds’ release of the 2008 album Way To Normal, he leaked a dozen or so songs online under the guise that they were the actual album tracks. The joke was that the songs were deliberately awful.

But Folds being Folds, he couldn’t help but slip some good ideas into those tracks, including the coda of the otherwise horrid fake title track ‘Way To Normal,’ which become the chorus of today’s SOTD.

Yeah we got just five minutes
We got just five minutes
‘Til the man cuts a rope
And we pull away

And there were no dry eyes
Try to keep yours to mine
There will be no guarantee
Of return

And it might be running out
Look around
We shut it down
We had a hell of a run
Hold on to your hat
Here we go

Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go

And the clock says (hey)
(Do do do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do)

Yeah we got just three minutes
‘Til this all turns to mist
And the mist burns away
You’ll walk alone
Back into the day
So let’s drink up now
Or we can pour the rest of it out
Oh, but don’t let this moment slip away

Have we learned anything
Anything, I gotta think
Maybe we learned when to hush
Hold on, here we go

Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go

And the clock says (hey)
(Do do do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do)

Yeah we’ve got just one minute

Long way to go
Long way to go

Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go
Long way to go

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One thought on “Song of the Day #3,375: ‘Long Way To Go’ – Ben Folds

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I was unaware of the fake releases, or at least I never heard them at the time. Too funny!

    I haven’t returned all that much to So There, though I do like some of the songs. This one certainly gives a wink and a nod to the musicians with its lyrics and structure in a more subtle way than “F10-D-A,” which comes about as close to Folds’ frat boy, and lesser, songs of earlier albums like Way to Normal as anything he has done since (including with the reunited BFF). Of course that song has a double meaning that made Amy want to turn it off when we were playing the album in the car. She is really “not a fan” of Folds’ sillier cruder songs. I have a higher tolerance, but they certainly are far from favorites.

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