Song of the Day #3,516: ‘Zak and Sara (Live)’ – Ben Folds

I’m surprised I haven’t already featured Ben Folds’ ‘Zak and Sara,’ either its studio version (from Folds’ 2001 solo debut Rockin’ the Suburbs) or the live version posted today.

This song is a perfect example of Folds’ gift for quick character sketches. I’ve always said that at his lyrical best, his songs are essentially short stories. Short stories sung with sticky melodies over exuberant piano music.

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Song of the Day #3,495: ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Movement 3’ – Ben Folds

Ah, the very rare instrumental track on a Random Weekend. This one comes from Ben Folds’ last album, So There, which featured eight songs backed by an orchestra as well as Ben’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ in three movements.

I listened to the full concerto once, after first buying the album, and never again until today. I just don’t find myself reaching for classical or orchestral music, even if I really enjoy it. I find this sort of thing better in the background, whether it’s the background of a movie or everyday life.

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Song of the Day #3,410: ‘Family of Me’ – Ben Folds

I like when animated movies make interesting musical choices. Rufus Wainwright delivered a delightful theme song for Meet the Robinsons, Jack Johnson’s ‘Upside Down’ from Curious George is my favorite song of his. The Shrek films feature a treasure trove of excellent song picks, including Counting Crows’ addictive ‘Accidentally in Love.’

In 2006, Ben Folds got into the game, contributing several songs to the soundtrack of Over the Hedge. It’s a sweet, admittedly forgettable, movie but a great showcase for Folds’ pop chops.

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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?

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Song of the Day #2,386: ‘Time’ – Ben Folds vs. The Beatles

Round Two of Montauk Madness comes to a close with a painful matchup for me, personally: The Beatles vs. Ben Folds.

The Beatles got here by unanimously toppling poor Shakira, while Folds bested The Smiths with a sizable 86% of the vote. Both of these acts have strong support among my readership. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,259: ‘Vicar in a Tutu’ – The Smiths vs. Ben Folds

At long last, here we are at the final matchup of Round One of Montauk Madness! Thirty-two battles to determine which 32 artists will advance to fight again.

Both of today’s contenders have shown up already in Round One in other incarnations: The Smiths’ frontman Morrissey showed up as a solo act, while Ben Folds showed up in the form of his band, Ben Folds Five.

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