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Whatever and Ever Amen (Remastered Edition)

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iTunes Review

Many years from now, Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen will be studied as a gauge of inter-personal dysfunction during the 1990s. Beyond its scientific value, the trio’s second album has considerable merit as a funny, frolicsome, and surprisingly touching song collection. Folds reinforces his reputation as an incurable wise-guy on such biting tunes as “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces,” “Song for the Dumped,” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” But there’s more here than cheeky lyrics set to careening keyboard melodies. There’s real angst behind the darkly droll tone of “Fair” and “Selfless, Cold and Composed.” The radio hit “Brick” is an exquisite slice of sorrow, made all the more poignant by its buoyant chorus. Musically, BFF manages to disguise zippy Broadway-style numbers (“Steven’s Last Night in Town”) and swirling jazz waltzes (“Smoke”) as indie-pop tunes, thanks to lean ‘n’ mean arrangements and an overall air of slacker nonchalance. When he wants to, Folds can apply himself with high seriousness to confessional ballads like “Missing the War” and “Evaporated.” Mostly, though, he uses Whatever and Ever Amen to dissect the quirks of the human heart with a surgeon’s skill and a satirist’s relish.

Customer Reviews

And don't forget my black t-shirt

As the soundtrack to many a road trip in college, this album holds a special place in my memory. Nostalgia aside, it’s a great album; and the iTunes review, as usual, misses the point. I mean, any TRIO that calls itself “Ben Folds FIVE” has got to be a little off kilter in the humor department… The one thing they got right is that the song craft matches (or bests) the strongest stuff that Elton John, Joe Jackson, Todd Rundgren, or Billy Joel ever released. But to say that Ben merely pulls from those 4 sources alone would be undercutting his talent and depth. There are references to everything from Dave Brubeck to Gershwin to Steely Dan and beyond. Lyrically, he bares all—whether it’s revealing a personal episode regarding the touchy subject of abortion (which is why it still amazes me that “Brick” got the major airplay that it did), to the snarky sense of humor that underlies the fantastic “Song for the Dumped” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” And, then, there are the inside references to NC/Chapel Hill, that, unless you lived here at some point, you might miss. (Like “Kate” standing at the “corner of Rosemary & Cameron handing out the Bhagavad Giita.” Even though Rosemary St and Cameron Ave run parallel in real life in Chapel Hill. But, whatever…) Anyway, the point is, it is a deeply personal album that rewards listeners for joining the journey. Ben basically does a character study of himself (as he does on 99% of his songs), and reveals himself to be a class clown who uses his snarky sense of humor and antics to shield a soft underbelly. Hell, he basically spells this out in “One Angry Dwarf…” Long story short, don’t just download “Brick” and call it a day. Do yourself a favor, and familiarize yourself with this entire album, and marvel at the sound that this trio was capable of producing.

He sure is amazing

This album reflects how ridicuously awesome he is. I mean his partners are pretty cool but Ben is the soul of this album. Making song for the dumped in japenese is an example of awesome he is (and funny). I also recommend Smoke, Kate, Brick, Song for the Dumped (english version), Missing the War, and Air. This thing is jammed pack full of good songs. If you wanna listen to funny and really good music this album is for you.

What an album!

Not only is this the best of the four major BFF albums (I don't know why they don't sell Naked Baby Photos here. It was a great semi-live album and it had the original recording of Eddie Walker.), but they offer a truckload of B-sides and soundtrack stuff like Air from Godzilla. This is a must-have for any fan of BFF. I love the Japanese version of Song for the Dumped. There are so many versions of that song. Ben is definitely the Elton John of my generation.


Born: September 12, 1966 in Winston-Salem, NC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Led by the pop-minded prowess of their namesake frontman, Ben Folds Five dispelled any misgivings about a band's ability to rock without guitars. Calling themselves "punk rock for sissies," the Chapel Hill natives were often grouped with the nerd rock movement of the mid-'90s, although their debt to jazz music -- not to mention Ben Folds' acerbic spin on the classic pianist/songwriter tradition -- ensured the trio a long-lasting legacy after their split in October 2000. The band also provided a launching...
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