Monday, September 10, 2007

"Army" / Ben Folds / Ben Folds Live

Yes! I finally get to write about my man Ben Folds. Since I discovered Ben Folds (Five) back in 1996 with "Underground", he's been one of my top five favorite artists.

I think he's one of the quintessential artists of my generation - he somehow combines a heavily sarcastic, cynical nature with moments of incredible sincerity and honesty (see "Brick", his biggest hit, or "We're Still Fighting It" for examples), which is quite a feat, and is pretty indicitive of folks my age, for the most part.

This song shows more of his cheeky, subversive side. I'm not sure if it's autobiographical or not; I think I heard it was, but the album on which it originally appears (this is a live cut) is a loose concept album about a character, Reinhold Messner. It's hard to beat an opening line like:

"Well I thought about the Army - Dad said 'Son you're fucking high'"

Not to mention the Chik-fil-A name check, mention of a mullet, and a "redneck past" hot on the narrator's heels.

This live cut brings some new stuff to the song (and I always appreciate Ben Folds for having a fresh approach to his songs in concert); check out the crowd (split into two parts) singing the instrumental break at about two minutes in, the nice little piano solo accompanied by the clapping crowd right before that, and the final line "I thought about.....your Mommy" (instead of ...."the Army")

Mr. Folds is all over the place on my itunes library; I have a feeling he'll pop up again. Good times!


MERK! said...

I listened to the whole song. I owed an artist to whom so many I know are love slaves a fair shake.

He sounds too damn happy. He also has a Weird Al inflection in some of his words that jars me every time.

He reminds me of Billy Joel too. Normally I would like that, but the Billy Joel I hear has a muppet smile on his face.

I'm such a hater, but I tried. Really.

EJ said...

Great song. I also like how after he mentions the redneck past nipping at his heels, the next song redneck past. Apparently having a redneck past is a big concern for hipsters from the sticks. Sedaris, also from NC, says the exact same thing (only not in song form, and much, much gayer).
Yeah, the singalong part is so cheesy/awesome, even if he does it every show (I would have been there singing it this time around too if he hadn't been touring with john fucking mayer).

Dick0369 said...