Song of the Day #3,782: ‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’ – Ben Folds Five

Funny coincidence as today’s random iTunes selection is a song my family was jamming to during a drive to the mall just hours earlier.

‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’ is a standout song on an album full of standout songs, Ben Folds Five’s sophomore release Whatever and Ever Amen. It’s about record producer Stephen Short, a friend of Ben Folds who came to visit and never left. As Folds recalls, “we must have thrown five or six going-away parties for him.”

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,387: ‘Army’ – Ben Folds Five

I had a harder time than I expected making a pick for Day 24 of the 30 Day Music Challenge, which asks for ‘A Song By a Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together.’

For one thing, most of my favorite artists turn out to be soloists. And the bands are either still together or past the point of getting back together. I don’t see The Beatles, for example, as eligible for this category because two of them are dead. I don’t think my wishing they were back together extends to wishing people back to life.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,309: ‘Sky High’ – Ben Folds Five vs. Counting Crows

Our next third round matchup in Montauk Madness pairs up a couple of 90s alternative bands: Ben Folds Five and Counting Crows.

Ben Folds Five leaves a pair of indie acts in its wake, having defeated Aimee Mann in Round One with 60% of the vote and Vampire Weekend in Round Two with 75%. Counting Crows enjoyed a unanimous victory against Morrissey in Round One before taking down the legendary David Bowie with 63%. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,269: ‘Diane Young’ – Vampire Weekend vs. Ben Folds Five

Two innovative indie bands face off today in Round Two of Montauk Madness.

Vampire Weekend got here by defeating Pink Floyd with 70% of the vote. Ben Folds Five had a slightly harder path, taking down Aimee Mann with 60%. I voted for Vampire Weekend and against Ben Folds Five in the first round, but would have reversed those votes had they switched their opponents. Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,329: ‘Away When You Were Here’ – Ben Folds Five

bff_sound_life_mindAs my recent list of top 20 albums of the decade so far was wrapping up, my brother-in-law asked me if I’d forgotten to consider Ben Folds Five’s The Sound of the Life of the Mind.

For a moment, I thought I had. So I went back to my notes to see exactly how things shook out.

Turns out the album was in the 21st spot, bumped out of the countdown when I decided to make a space for Adele’s 21, which I had forgotten when first compiling the list.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,137: ‘Sports & Wine (Demo)’ – Ben Folds Five

bffBen Folds is one of my very favorite artists in part because he’s a master of both the melancholy and the manic. For every subtle, soft-hearted piano ballad you have an off-the-tracks ivory crasher.

‘Sports & Wine,’ from Ben Folds Five’s self-titled debut, is as light on its feet as anything the band produced. The studio version (my Song of the Day #873) gives each of the band members a chance to shine, especially Darren Jesse on drums.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,124: ‘Emaline (Live)’ – Ben Folds Five

ben_folds_fiveWhen picking my five desert island songs, or however you want to characterize this list of essential tracks, I knew I had to include a Ben Folds Five tune.

The harder question was which one.

Something from the debut album — ‘Jackson Cannery’ or ‘Philosophy,’ perhaps, or ‘Alice Childress’? Or one of the lush standouts from their sophomore effort — ‘Selfless, Cold and Composed’ or ‘Missing the War’?

Continue reading