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Ben Folds Five Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 25 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Outside Music
  • ASIN: B000000IDJ
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
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1. Jackson Cannery
2. Philosophy
3. Julianne
4. Where's Summer B.?
5. Alice Childress
6. Underground
7. Sports & Wine
8. Uncle Walter
9. Best Imitation Of Myself
10. Video
11. The Last Polka
12. Boxing

Product Description


Like the best guitar heroes, Ben Folds, pianist and leader of a guitarless trio called the Ben Folds Five, commands and fuels his small, tightly wound ensemble with an authoritative, nearly virtuosic style. Folds, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, borrows from everywhere but lends new inspiration and insight to the instrument's possibilities--he's the Jimi Hendrix of the baby grand. His frenetic key-pounding eclipses old-time styles from honky-tonk to Jerry Lee Lewis rag, and he outplinks megastars such as Elton John and Billy Joel while sifting them both through the mondo hammerings of classic pop-loving alternative keyboard bashers like Todd Rundgren and Jools Holland. To complement Folds-the-pianist's clean and bright ivory tinkerings, Folds-the-singer's clear and dynamic tenor swirls through Folds-the-songwriter's very capably crafted, sugary pop gems. "Philosophy" starts with a rolling Joel-like intro, slips into a Rundgrenish verse and chorus--complete with the perfect Beatlesque harmonies of bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee--and then breaks out in an overdriven piano quote from Gershwin in the climactic solo. "Underground" Sgt. Peppers us with faux theatrics and then plunges into a soul-gospel groove about the joys of the alternative rock scene. "Uncle Walter" is a character sketch Ray Davies wishes he wrote but couldn't; "Boxing" is an imagined confab between Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell that Tom Waits wishes he wrote but wouldn't. The rest of Ben Folds Five's debut achievement just does what any other timeless summer record should: it makes you feel sunny enough inside to last all through the year. --Roni Sarig

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
This being Ben Folds Five's first CD, I expect that Folds, Jesse, and Sledge wanted this to be a debut that wouldn't fade within a year like so many other first albums. Nearly nine years later, and the self-titled masterpiece is still one of the most impressive blendings of piano with pop/rock I've ever heard. Much more articulately than Something Corporate ever has, Folds tickles the ivory with such utterly blinding skill and artistry that it makes me drool every time that I pop this CD in. This album feels rather like indie rock almost (¡§Underground¡¨ being the most noticeable and nostalgic indie track on the CD). You may think that I¡¦m a avid fan who puts Ben Folds on a pedestal and extols him as the quintessential savior to modern music. The truth is that the boy from Chapel Hill, NC does a pretty good job of being a musical savior.
The CD opens up with the jaunty 'Jackson Cannery.' It¡¦s musically solid, and I catch myself singing the chorus line and the tag often. Not an amazing song, but it grows on you. It then moves into 'Philosophy,' one of Ben Folds most impressive piano-focused licks coming in the intro and in the finale of this song, sounding almost like something from Gershwin¡¦s¡¥Rhapsody in Blue¡¦ in the end. Overall, just brilliant song-writing, and one of his most stunning and prolific piano parts. Some other note-worthy songs would be the compelling waltz 'Boxing,' and 'Underground,' which shows off Ben Folds' jazz ability with the tag, a brilliant jazz rift that feels almost like a Scott Joplin rag.
Ben Folds is lucky enough to have some incredible back-up singers (with some surprisingly high voices), but Folds himself carries a lot of power with his ranging voice, spanning great depths of power. Don't get me wrong; they miss in one or two places, ("Julianne" just never gets off the ground) but this CD grows and grows on you, until you eventually get lost in the techinical wizardry of Ben Folds Five.
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Format: Audio CD
Most people who got into this CD got into it thanks to Whatever & Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five's popular 1997 release. Whether that statement is true or not, you can't get past the fact that this album is an impressive one. All the songs are very, very good; and a few of them qualify as some of the best unheard songs ever (i.e. "Philosophy" or "Best Imitation Of Myself"). I actually believe, despite what others may think or say, this self-titled debut is better than Whatever & Ever Amen. There's no doubt that "Brick" is Ben Folds Five's best song; I can't challenge that. But overall, I was more impressed with this release as a complete album. It has some of Ben Folds' most carefree lyrics, but emphasizes the piano better than any of their CDs. Here's a quick rundown of the 12 songs.
The first song also happens to be one of the best: "Jackson Cannery". I'm not sure if it's a personalized song, but shouts the line 'big brother got the keys / and I got Jackson Cannery'; some bitterness towards a brother or not it's still a joyous song. "Philosophy" is certainly a song that should not go unheard. It is an excellent song, perhaps the best on the CD and best of Ben Folds Five. Its ending is awesome; from the jamming on the piano to the '1-2-3-4' chant (somewhat uncharacteristic of BBF) that leads right into "Julianne". "Julianne" is one of those 'I'm-over-you-and-loving-it' songs. Hand's down, it's my favorite song on the disc. It starts brilliantly: 'I met this girl / she looked like Axel Rose'. It could be dubbed as annoying, since the end hangs onto the 'anne' a bit too long. But nonetheless it's an exceptional song; one that shouldn't go overlooked. When it comes to "Where's Summer B.?", there is not much that can be said.
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Format: Audio CD
My only complaint about this album is that it took me so long to discover it! I can't bear to think of the years I wasted passing off Ben Folds Five as an average pop band before I actually bothered to go out and buy their albums. Of course, this CD (like any) is not for everyone, but for me, the combination of their unique sound paired with intelligent and witty lyrics set atop catchy yet beautiful melodies makes me want to listen to this album over and over again! This album has all the makings of a great pop record but unlike most 'pop' bands, each member of Ben Folds Five showcases an extraordinary talent on their instrument. This is probably my favourite Ben Folds Five album, although I would also highly reccomend their others 2, especially Whatever and Ever Amen. Ben Folds' solo stuff is good too. As for this album, my favourite songs are Where's Summer B., Best Imitation of Myself, Philosophy, Jackson Cannery, The Last Polka, and Sports & Wine. I realize that is a lot of favourite songs, but this is one of those rare albums that makes it so hard to choose!
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Format: Audio CD
This album is perfect for about the first 5-6 songs. I love everything BFF has ever done, but the highlight of their career is really "Jackson Cannery" up to "Underground." Each one of these songs, filled with amazing piano playing and some of the best drumming and bass work i've ever heard, really stands out. If you're not singing along with "Philosophy" the second time you play it, well...you will be. Trust me.
The rest of the album is good, but it just seems to fall off a bit from the level of perfection attained in the first half. It is a debut, after all. "Whatever and Ever..." is a real 5 star record, a truly great, complete album...but when i go on a trip, "Ben Folds Five" always comes along. If you have any interest in BFF at all, i would pick up this album, which is definitely worth a few extended listens.
Every band on MTV right now, from O-Town to Sugar Ray to everything else that's even slightly poppy pales in comparison to this record, which blends musicmanship with great lyrics and catchy melodies to really make the best pop record i've ever heard. If you've only heard "brick" - you've really heard nothing. Give "BFF" a chance.
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