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Whatever and Ever Amen

4.7 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 18, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ben Folds Five ~ Whatever And Ever Amen

Amazon.com

Think of Ben Folds as Billy Joel minus the Tin Pan Alley heritage and armed with a sweet, wry, slacker ethos. In a guitar-free trio setting, the Chapel Hill smart guy pounds the ivories with gusto while singing a tremendous batch of funny ("Kate"), poignant ("Brick," "Evaporated"), pissed-off ("Song for the Dumped"), and hugely refreshing (all 12 tunes here) songs. --Jeff Bateman
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: March 18, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 550 Music/Caroline
  • ASIN: B000002BOJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Pounds on September 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Whatever and Ever Amen proves that the spectacular pop song craft of 1995's self titled "Ben Folds Five" album was no fluke. The songs on here can become very addictive. He pulls off these infectious tunes just as well as Elton John, Billy Joel or Joe Jackson; he is definitely a gifted piano man.

I did not discover this album when I was in high school like a lot of people I knew, but it takes me back there every time I listen to it. It is a great record, symbolizing the time when it came out in 1997. Ben Folds has opened me up to the world of piano music. He is the reason I love Elton John and Billy Joel so much today.

This album is just filled with stand-out tracks. I'm sure everyone has heard the very memorable song "Brick", about the struggles with abortion. "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" kicks off the CD nicely with it's fast paced rhythm. The second track "Fair" is my personal favorite. "Song For The Dumped" is a song that everyone can relate to. "Smoke" is also one of my favorites; I'm not sure what the instrument he is playing is called, but it's chillingly sweet. Then you have "Steven's Last Night In Town", and fantastic swing number brightened up with some horns. They mix it up so much, and still keep the guitars out of the picture.

This album is very diverse and has plenty of material to be loved by all. I would recommend it to anybody who likes any kind of music; is that vague enough?
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Format: Audio CD
The second release from the now defucnt Ben Folds Five is one of the best Rock albums not on your shelf. I bought this album along with three others one fateful night. I gave it one listen and paid more attention that night to the musical (if you can call it that) stylings of Semisonic. A few weeks later I popped this misnamed trio back into my CD player and fell in love. The opening track "One Angry Dwarf and Two Hundred Solemn Faces" was shocking to listen to because I had only known their one radio hit- the soft-core introspective "Brick"
The CD is great. So many reviewers note that there is a song for every emotional pitch. This is true- the tracks oscilate between frenetic energy (One Angry Dwarf, Fair) to melancholic solace seeking (Missing the War, Evaporated). Ben Folds Five is hard to characterize as a group because of their range and development as a group between their promising self-titled debut "Ben Folds Five" to their critically acclaimed "Rheinhold Messner."
This CD takes a few listens to understand- as it did with me. But this album alone coerced me to attend the best concert of my life- Ben Folds Five on Summer Stage at Central Park- accompanied by strings and horns- I managed to sneak my friends and myself back-stage to meet the band- way cool.
With the release of Ben Folds first Solo Effort since the breakup of this band we can see what Robert Sledge and Darren Jesse contributed to the group. Ben Folds Five was more comic and energetic- especially on stage- whereas Ben Folds himself (the creative force behind the band) continues in the direction the band moved in their last effort, Messner.
Having bought this album when I was 16 and now being on the cusp of 20 I must say that it changed my life forever.
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By B on April 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
One of the most endearing and frusterating things about Ben Folds (Five) is his (their) refusal to take things seriously. Ultimately, it resulted in a couple dreadful self-parodies (the title track of the otherwise excellent "Rockin' the Suburbs"), but on "Whatever and Ever Amen", there's a strong balance.

Thus, you have lighthearted pop ("Kate") mixed with heartbreaking ballads ("Brick"). Folds is a very talented piano player, and it's backed (on the rockier numbers) with Robert Sledge's amplified bass and Darren Jesse's solid drumming to give them a unique sound. It's like a giant blender full of Joe Jackson, Todd Rundgren, The Pixies, Beck, Weezer, XTC, Burt Bacharach, more.

On songs like "One Angry Dwarf.." and "Song For the Dumped", Folds' lyrics are spiked with bitterness and anger, yet he never feels *truly* pissed off when he sings lines such as "Give me my money back you bitch" (the chorus of the latter). Perhaps any anger is overshadowed by the delicious pop hooks.

Other highlights include the lush jazz of "Selfless, Cold and Composed", the New Orleans jazz-tinged playfulness of "Steven's Last Night in Town", the theatrical ballad "Missing the War", the insanely catchy pop of "Battle of Who Could Care Less", and the sophisticated-yet-silly "Fair".

In terms of writing catchy, engaging hooks, Folds is a master here. That's what makes "Whatever & Ever Amen" so memorable. Whether it's a humorous pop song or a melancholy ballad, everything is so hooky and infectious.
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Format: Audio CD
Did you ever what happened to the lonely, friendly outcast who used to go to your high school? For at least one high school class out there, the answer is that he made this album. This is easily one of the best album of the 90's, the outcast album for people who can't tolerate goths, but still want to go through their high school yearbook with a sharpie, drawing x's. Through this incredible album, Folds and the crew show the regular guy life that follows. He gloats at his success ("One Angry Dwarf"), deals with the ups and downs of love ("Song for the Dumped", "Fair"), and puts up with friends who wear out their welcome ("Steven's Last Night", "Battle of Who Could Care Less").
Generally, his lyrics are pretty casual (i.e. - I guess it's cool to be alone), but despite the simplicity of it all, he manages to be pretty poetic. In my favorite track, "Brick", Ben Folds Five turns in one of their best known and most beautiful pieces, about a guy taking his girl to get an abortion. Its heavy subject matter, but still not a topic beyond the average listener. With all the parts combined, and capped off with the incredible "Evaporated", WE&EA is certainly the best of Ben Folds, and is the best example of how piano rock can still rock.
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