Sound: One of the greatest overlooked, underated bands in the '90s. Thrust into a time era where rock bands were the 'thing', Ben Folds Five offered an alternative. A mixture of piano rock/jazz/power pop, Ben Folds Five consisted of Ben Folds, pianist and vocals, Robert Sledge, bassist, and Darren Jesse, drummer. The sound was very refreshing. Some songs were very slow and dramatic, while others were as fast, crazy, and hard as some punk bands. Even Ben Folds Five's live shows were said to be very, very exciting, because not only was the music great, but the band was said to have so much energy it was hard to tell them apart from any hard rock band.
Ben Folds is a highly notable pianist, and very unique too. His style sways from jazz to rock to pop very smoothly. The transition is just remarkable. Folds piano composition makes other piano rock bands just look pathetic. Every song is just amazing. Robert Sledge's bass lines stood out as well. Unlike most piano rock bands, Slege decided to show us he was talented and produced driving bass lines that had more of a punk/rock style, while still retaining the jazzy feeling. Although every song had excellent bass addition, one song's bass lines that stood out was on one of the harder songs of the cd, "Song For The Dumped". Darren Jesse's drumming was very good as well. Instead of like some piano rock bands who just add in a simple beat that repeats with one fill, Jesse's drumming showed Ben Folds chose the other path. Even the drums contain a jazz/rock feel to them. // 10
Lyrics: Ben Folds's lyrics were underlooked as well. Instead of just focusing on love every song, Folds took a humorous look on almost everything, and if you didn't like, he just didn't care. This apathy is seen through a lot of the cd, and even on the cd cover. The first song, "One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces", is autobiographical of Folds. It tells of him growing up being short and getting picked on, and now that he's getting more and more famous, he looks back at them and laughs. "Brick", one of BFF's most famous songs, is rumored to be about Folds's past as well, involving an ex and her getting an abortion and the emotion that comes with it.
The lyrics weren't absolutely amazing and superb, but it was the fact that Folds could sing about other important things in life that no one ever does, without using cliches or anything that could drag him down. It was very unique and impressive, and it stands out as well in the CD. Folds actually has a very good voice, and can hit some notes a lot of others can't. His range is pretty good, and his tone just adds to his emotion in the cd. Every word is filled with some kind of emotion whether it be happiness, sadness, regrettance, anger, apathy, etc. // 10
Overall Impression: I haven't heard many songs of the cds, so I can't really compare this cd to his others. Ben Folds himself is amazing and versatile (he's an accomplished pianist, vocalist, bassist, drummer, and actor). He has released some solo cds, which are very good as far as I've heard. But teamed up with Sledge and Jesse, I think this is an excellent setup. I think every song on this cd is just perfect. But, if you want to try to test them out, I'd say check out "Brick", "One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces", "Smoke", and "Song For The Dumped" to get a good feel of the sound. Still, every song remains to me to be very great songs. Aspiring pianists, this is a must-have. If not, this is still a good cd to relax to. And on other occasions, its a good cd to just go crazy with and jump around. If this cd were stolen, I'd buy it and another for personal insurance. Excellent work, Ben Folds Five. // 10