In pending anticipation of my upcoming attendance (hopefully) at another Ben Folds concert, I’ve been thinking lately about something to do in anticipation. Fortunately for all my readers, I have come up with an idea. The plan is to rate each Ben Folds (Five) album by their respective tracks, i.e. rate all the Track 1s, Track 2s, etc., for the commercial released Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five albums. Therefore, the Ben Folds Five albums to be rated in such a way are “Ben Folds,” “Whatever and Ever Amen,” and “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.” Ben Folds “solo” albums will include “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” “Saving Silverman,” “Way to Normal,” and “Lonely Avenue.” Granted, there are other albums that could be considered (“Naked Baby Photos,” “Ben Folds Live,” the a cappella one) but those are just albums containing previously released songs. I might consider the “Supersunnyspeedgraphic” songs too, but I have those songs as the individual EPs and I don’t know where they fall on the LP when it was released. So now that the introduction is taken care of, on with the tracks, starting with #1.
Track One is important for any album. It sets the tone for the rest of the album and can sometimes make or break an album. The Ben Folds albums are no different, with quite a variety to choose from. So without further ado, here are the rankings for Mr. Folds’ Track Ones:
- “Annie Waits” from “Suburbs” – For some reason, this is my favorite opening song. When I made a Ben Folds CD for someone, this one happened to end up as Track 1, and it just seemed to fit there. But then again, I think “Suburbs” might be my favorite Ben Folds album, so I might be a bit partial.
- “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” from “Whatever and Ever Again” – A strong beginning to this overall decent album, but not the best opening. However, I do feel that this song meshes well with the rest of this album as a whole, setting the tone for future songs like “Battle of Who Could Care Less,” “Song For the Dumped,” “Kate,” and “Steven’s Last Night in Town.”
- “Narcolepsy” from “Reinhold Messner” – With no lyrics for the first 1:25 of the song, it really showcases Ben Folds’ piano playing and his ability to integrate the band in what he is doing. I think the song suffers a bit from a strange topic, but other than that is a strong opening track on an often overlooked album.
- “A Working Day” from “Lonely Avenue” – The newest entry into the Track Ones is also the shortest, at just under two minutes. I debated whether to include this album at all since Nick Hornby wrote the lyrics, but the music completes the lyrical picture so to speak. The main reason I like this song is the refrain: “Some guy and the net thinks I suck, and he should know. He’s got his own blog.”
- “Bastard” from “Silverman” – Another underrated album, but not really because of this song. Not in the top half of the ratings as you can see, but not the worst either. I do like some of the harmonies in the song, and as always the wonderful piano playing. Just not a strong song overall.
- “Jackson Cannery” from “Ben Folds Five” – Not a strong opening song in my opinion, but not the worst track one. Fortunately, the rest of the album really helps make up for the semi-weak opening, with some of my favorite Ben Folds songs to this day.
- “Hiroshima” from “Way to Normal” – The song is funny, but I think it tries too hard to be. I like the album, but often skip this song simply because I feel it didn’t really fit with everything else on the album. Definitely my least favorite of the Track Ones.
Next blog should be the Track Twos, though no guarantees. Until then…