Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen: #416 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen

So why is Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

One of the many fine tricks that Ben Folds and crew pull off exceptionally well is the ability to pivot between being genuinely funny (always a big plus in my book!), sweet and sincere, and angry – at times all within the same song.

And I think this dynamic shows off particularly well in a band that features the piano (and thankfully Folds is an outstanding piano player on top of being a top-notch song craftsman and singer) and not the guitar. There’s just a tendency to take someone behind a piano a little more seriously, I suppose? The likes of Bo Burnham can relate, I’d wager.

For example, “Song for the Dumped” is a wild and upbeat song (with piano and without guitars) that is funny and angry at the same. I mean, it really seems like Ben wants his money back AND his black-t-shirt. And it all works because the song rocks, culminating in the catchy chorus: “Give me my money back, you b—-!”  

“One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” is more clever than funny (that song title alone!), featuring a rip-roaring piano riff and a flat out gorgeous melody. It’s really cool too how the bass is fuzzed up enough to give the song a real “bottom” and with it legit rock sensibility.

“Brick” is Ben Folds Five’s best known song, and no doubt it “fools” many people into thinking that the band’s overall vibe is sweet and sad piano ballads. As you’ve hopefully realized by now, that’s just one paint brush that Ben and crew have at the ready. That being said, it’s a wonderful and beautiful tune that’s up there with any singer songwriter-type song from the 1990s that I can think of.  

“Battle of Who Could Care Less” is fantastic. If Ben Folds Five appeals to you at all, you will love this song. You have the best 1,000 albums ever guarantee on this one.

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen

I’m lucky enough to have seen Ben Folds live twice. The first time, Ben Folds Five opened for Beck (who I’ve also seen live more than once, but we have time to get to that), and if memory serves, the venue was Jones Beach on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

I went to a few concerts there with one of my college pals, and that might have been the night I maxed out my ancient Dodge Ares “K car” station wagon on the Southern State Parkway. That was very much not a great idea for many reasons, but when we’re young we do dumb stuff sometimes, you know? No drinking was involved, so there’s that.

The other time I saw Ben Folds perform live (with my wife in tow this time), it was many years later in Los Angeles, as part of an avant-garde project involving all kinds of orchestral instruments. This show may have been at the Greek Theater. It was more an intriguing evening versus super entertaining, but it was fun to see Ben still doing his thing, and he was as talented as ever.

Some stats & info about Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, Rock Music, Alternative Pop, Indie Rock, Singer-Songwriter
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Whatever and Ever Amen released? 1997
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #416 out of 1,000

Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I’m big and important – one angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces for you.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.