Seven 9s and 10s

My picks for the Top-5 songs played by WBER in 2012 , as whittled down from this pool of songs. If interested, you can view my selection process at this Google Doc. (131 songs down to 22, down to 11, down to 6, down to 5.)
Not a great year overall - far too many synthesizers and drum machines and whiny boys trying to sing like girls. There’s a place for all of that, but now that it’s become mainstream I no longer wish to hear any of it. It’s everywhere and it’s killing me. Thankfully there were some old faithfuls to fall back on.
The Shins - Simple Song (listen on spotify)#1 with a bullet. Never a doubt in my mind about this one. The album as a whole was slightly disappointing, but this song is perfect - particularly the melodies. 
Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway (listen on spotify) Strip away everything other than Ben’s piano performance and this would still be good enough for #2. Add everything else back in and there was no competition. The 10+ year hiatus didn’t diminish the incredible chemistry that these three guys share. 
Soulsavers - Take Me Back Home (listen on spotify) Wow. Well, this one sorta snuck up on me. That’s about all I can say. Beautiful song. 
The Tragically Hip - At Transformation (listen on spotify) I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one song in my top 5 that truly rocks… and it came from a somewhat unlikely source. Thanks, Canada! 
Feist - The Bad In Each Other (listen on spotify) Her voice just hits me right where it counts, and the production on this song is mesmerizing. 

My picks for the Top-5 songs played by WBER in 2012 , as whittled down from this pool of songs. If interested, you can view my selection process at this Google Doc. (131 songs down to 22, down to 11, down to 6, down to 5.)

Not a great year overall - far too many synthesizers and drum machines and whiny boys trying to sing like girls. There’s a place for all of that, but now that it’s become mainstream I no longer wish to hear any of it. It’s everywhere and it’s killing me. Thankfully there were some old faithfuls to fall back on.

  1. The Shins - Simple Song (listen on spotify)
    #1 with a bullet. Never a doubt in my mind about this one. The album as a whole was slightly disappointing, but this song is perfect - particularly the melodies. 
  2. Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway (listen on spotify)
    Strip away everything other than Ben’s piano performance and this would still be good enough for #2. Add everything else back in and there was no competition. The 10+ year hiatus didn’t diminish the incredible chemistry that these three guys share. 
  3. Soulsavers - Take Me Back Home (listen on spotify)
    Wow. Well, this one sorta snuck up on me. That’s about all I can say. Beautiful song. 
  4. The Tragically Hip - At Transformation (listen on spotify)
    I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one song in my top 5 that truly rocks… and it came from a somewhat unlikely source. Thanks, Canada! 
  5. Feist - The Bad In Each Other (listen on spotify)
    Her voice just hits me right where it counts, and the production on this song is mesmerizing. 

Track:
Do It Anyway

Artist:
Ben Folds Five

Album:
The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway

And if you’re paralyzed by a voice in your head
It’s the standing still that should be scaring you instead
Go on and
Do it anyway

This isn’t my favorite song on the album - that would be Draw A Crowd - but the lyrics here get me.

Also… I’m not sure how or when it happened, but at some point Ben Folds’ piano-playing became the least talked about part of this band. This song brings it squarely back into focus; holy crap, what an incredible performance.

Ben Folds Five - Narcolepsy - Live @ Mountain Jam - June 2, 2012 (by Pianobrad)

Wow.

Excluding their one-off show back in 2008, this is the first Ben Folds Five performance since 2000. A YouTuber has uploaded the entire set.

It’s obvious to me that they made the right decision by recording their new album before heading out on tour, because the time they spent together in the studio has clearly paid off. The chemistry that made this band so special is definitely back and this performance is not the least bit disappointing.

Their three previous albums are all among my all-time favorites, and as great as those albums are, I’ve always considered Ben Folds Five to be more of a live-band; their improv chops are just too good to be captured in the studio. Case-in-point: the breakdown that begins at roughly the 4:28 mark of this video. Click here to jump right to it. It gave me chills. Repeatedly. A lot of bands have done some sort of mix of rock and jazz, but no band has ever done it so effortlessly, and this band is the only one that has ever given the rock side of the equation the amount of balls-out fury that it requires.

Reunion tours (and reunion albums) are almost universally terrible, and I’ll admit I had my doubts about this one - especially because they’re among my top-5 favorite bands - but this performance has raised my hopes. The album drops in September, followed by a full tour. Sign me up, I’m ready for more.

Track:
Narcolepsy

Artist:
Ben Folds Five

Album:
The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner

steelopus:

Ben Folds Five - Narcolepsy

The only thing more powerful than the chemistry in this band was Ben’s ego.

Rather than be pissed off about it, I choose to be glad they gave us three near-perfect albums before imploding.

5:25 for May 25th

My favorite Ben Folds Five song.

Track:
Kate

Artist:
steelopus

Album:
40 in 40

Ben Folds Five - Kate (steelopus cover)

This one was simple and fun. Under 2 hours to learn and record it all.

I think it might be my best vocal performance of the entire project so far, which is relatively surprising to me because it’s really at the top of my range for pretty much the entire duration of the song.

(25 down. 15 to go.)

gordonshumway:

Ben Folds Five: “Battle of Who Could Care Less”

I’ve got this great idea
Why don’t we pitch it to the Franklin Fucking Mint
Fine pewter portraits
Of General Apathy
And Major Boredom
Singing
“Whatever and ever, amen”.

One of my favorite bridge sections of all time, it encapsulates everything that was right about this band: rock, quirk, and snark.