Top 10 Ben Folds Songs
I don't write a lot of top 10 song lists. Even though I have a lot of favorite songs, I often have trouble narrowing my lists and categorizing songs as being "the best." However, Ben Folds has been one of my favorite musicians for over 15 years. I think that everyone should at least give his music a try. Hopefully if you aren't a fan already, this list will get you started. If you are a fan, this list may still give you a few new songs to check out. Enjoy!
1) Kate This 1997 Ben Folds Five song is up there on my all-time favorite song list. Ben Folds writes a 3-4 minute character sketch better than anyone. This song is no exception. It isn't one that I ever listened to over and over again because I can't relate to it on a personal level. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a great song. I love the energy level. Stand out lyric: "She smiles and it's a rainbow."
2) Gracie This is one of the sweetest pop songs that you'll find anywhere. In case the lyrics weren't enough to tug at your heartstrings, Folds goes entirely acoustic on this simple but so powerful gem. The song is a ray of light in an album filled with paranoia, doubt, and general disarray. Stand out lyric: "You nodded off in my arms watching TV. I won't move you an inch even thought my arm's asleep...One day you're gonna want to go. I hope we taught you everything you need to know." I think that pretty much says it all.
3) Brainwascht Like Kate, this isn't a song that I can relate with, but it is so well written that I have still listened to it over and over again. Those who were listening through the Songs From Silverman days and were somewhat wistful that there weren't any Gracie-esque numbers on this album could move on when we heard the brilliance of numbers like Brainwascht. Stand out lyric: "If you had to say it all with a pop song, couldn't you at least have written a good one?"
4) Saskia Hamilton If you haven't heard Ben Folds' most recent project, his Lonely Avenue album that he wrote with Nick Hornby, please go check it out. It was very tough for me to pick a favorite song from this album. I choose this one largely because of its infectious energy and amazing lyrics. You can't help but smile when you listen to it. Stand out lyric: "Gonna live with her and it will be harmonious! How could it not be when she's that euphonious? I'm gonna marry her and it'll be idyllic! And my teacher just told me she's dactylic."
I'm not even sure what to say about this so please watch it.
5) Zak and Sara In case you haven't already figured this out, I have a weakness for upbeat Ben Folds songs. This is not a knock his slower numbers at all because many of them are also brilliant. It's just my own musical preference. I made sure that this sweet number got into our wedding reception play list. Stand out lyric: "Visions of pills that put you in a loving trance that make it possible for all white boys to dance."
6) Best Imitation of Myself This is a classic old school Ben Folds Five song. I think that everyone goes through this feeling in some situation at some point in his life. There aren't many weak numbers from this self-titled album so if you enjoy this one, check out the rest of it. Stand out lyric: "Trying to be for you what you wanna see. But I can't help it with you. The good and bad comes through."
7) One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces This song is a killer start to Whatever and Ever Amen. Among many other talents, Folds writes great revenge songs. However down in the dumps the main characters of the songs may have been at some point, they're not anymore...but they aren't ready to let go of their past hurts yet. This is no exception. Stand out lyric: "Jane remember second grade. Said you couldn't stand my face. Rather than kiss me you said you'd rather die."
8) Steven's Last Night in Town How many pop songs feature a Klezmer band? This is yet another song from Whatever and Ever Amen that will stick with you. Steven's Last Night is sort of an updated version (more grown up? more hip? I'm not sure how to classify this exactly) of The Cat Came Back. With classic Folds lyrics and a totally unique instrumental arrangement, this song has it all. Stand out lyric: "He's charmed everyone here except Tamara Easter who later revealed to him her innermost secrets. Won us over with stories about Linda McCartney. Lost points with the ladies for saying he couldn't love a woman with cellulite."
9) Landed I had a very tough time deciding what song I wanted to include on this list from Songs From Silverman besides Gracie. I was torn between Landed and Trusted so please check out Trusted, too. If you've been following Ben Folds since his days with Ben Folds Five, you'll be blown away by the subtlety of so many songs on the Silverman album. The amazing lyrics are still there with his piano playing at a whole different level. Landed is no exception. There are several lyric gems that I have to include here: "Treading a sea of a troubled mind. Had to leave myself behind." "Down comes the reign of the telephone czar." "The daily dramas she made from nothing so nothing ever made them right."
10) Philosophy One of my favorite things about this song is that when Ben Folds plays this song live, he improvs the classical riff at the end. On his self-titled album, he plays a few bars from Rhapsody in Blue. Every time I've seen him in concert, it's been something different. So much fun. Stand out lyric: "And it's really not that you can't see the forest from the trees. You never out in the woods alone."
I've always loved this video.
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The deluxe edition of Lonely Avenue is definitely worth it!
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