Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five
Reviewed by Brian Johnston
Available to LTPL patrons via Freegal
WARNING: This album has explicit lyrics.
Ben Folds Five is an alternative rock band that formed in 1993. Ben Folds is the lead singer; there were actually three members in the band instead of five. They released three studio albums before disbanding in 2000; they would later reunite.
Ben Folds Five somewhat hard to classify; while they are categorized as alternative rock, they could also fit into the indie rock or even pop rock genres. Their first album, self-titled, came out in 1995, yet they broke through commercially with their 1997 album, Whatever and Ever Amen.
Overall, this is an interesting album, with lots of variety. The signature track on the album is “Brick,” which got a lot of radio airplay back in late 1997 and early 1998. It’s a heavy and solemn song about what it was like for Folds when his high school girlfriend had to get an abortion.
Not every song on the album is like that, however. Some of the songs are more upbeat and fun to listen to. To that end, “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces,” the first track, is among my favorites on the album. I also like “Battle of Who Could Care Less,” towards the end of the album. Among the slower songs, “Smoke” is probably my favorite. There’s even a little bit of a jazz sound to a couple of the tracks, including “Selfless, Cold and Composed.”
At times, this album is edgy, and at other times, it’s more down-to-earth and solemn. Therefore, it’s not an album that will put you in a certain mood. Some people might not like that it’s a little all over the place, but I think that makes the album interesting. If you’re looking for something different to listen to, give this album a try.