Whatever And Ever AmenThis was my introduction to Ben Folds Five and reaffirmed my faith that the 90s could actually produce potentially classic pop music. By now, it is best known for the deceptively jaunty ballad “Brick”, a completely atypical Ben Folds Five tune in every sense (the gentle march rhythm, the bowed bass), but there are much better songs here. The album kicks off with the cathartically rip-roaring “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces”, another hysterically funny/angry tune. Also included are “Battle Of Who Could Care Less”, the album’s first single (shunned by many stations due to that pesky F word), which bears more than a passing resemblance to Joe Jackson’s style, the harrowing ballad “Evaporated”, and my personal favorite Ben Rating: 4 out of 4Folds Five tune, the jazzy “Steven’s Last Night In Town”, a song which begs for a video with a goofy Busby Berkley production number. Though some of the language may not be suitable for the faint of heart or the prudish, I highly recommend this album as an example that the 1990s have produced something other than angry folk rock, rap and house music.

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  1. One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces (3:52)
  2. Fair (5:56)
  3. Brick (4:43)
  4. Song For The Dumped (3:40)
  5. Selfless, Cold And Composed (6:10)
  6. Kate (3:14)
  7. Smoke (4:52)
  8. Cigarette (1:38)
  9. Steven’s Last Night In Town (3:28)
  10. The Battle Of Who Could Care Less (3:16)
  11. Missing The War (4:20)
  12. Evaporated (5:41)

Released by: Epic/Sony
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 50:52