Literal vs Story

  • 18 Replies
  • 5332 Views
*

Offline Kidney05

  • *****
  • 1077
  • Gender: Male
  • woke up way too normal
Literal vs Story
« on: July 28, 2010, 08:53:18 AM »
Hey yall,
I was driving in the car yesterday, and I put on messner, and I was thinking about how some of ben's songs are clearly autobiographical and some are stories of someone else, sometimes told through their point of view, a la Randy Newman.  Which songs do you suppose are actually autobiographical, or semi-autobiographical, or written about a true story, or completely fictional?

For example, I always thought that Don't Change Your Plans was a fictional story.
nobody deserves posts on their myspace site asking if they stabbed basketballs.

Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2010, 01:56:22 PM »
im guessing hiroshima is based on a true story...

*

Offline zinefiend

  • *****
  • 602
  • Gender: Female
  • this isn't a wine car!!
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2010, 06:24:15 PM »
Emaline is the real-life story of Ben dating a horse.  I read it on the internet. 

*

Offline DAVID

  • ****
  • 367
  • Gender: Male
  • A little blurry, but his face is worth it!
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 10:07:14 PM »
Anything's fair game.  I mean, we know that Brick is real, and that while Alice Childress is fictional, it may very well be allegorical.

Still Fighting it and Gracie, obviously, are rather real as well.
"Wait, he said 'good things come to those who wait,' but you didn't wait too long" "Keep listening" Kristen, on me and "Bruised"

*

Offline AlexKintzle

  • ****
  • 369
  • Gender: Male
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 10:10:51 PM »
in the signature licks book it says alice childress is based off a patient in an insane asylum or sumtin along the lines of that....
"I'd like to say f*ck you in the nose, but i'm too evolved for that kind of thing now."-Ben Folds

*

Offline franknbeans120

  • *
  • 36
  • Gender: Female
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2010, 08:54:35 AM »
In my opinion, most of Ben's songs have a element of autobiographical-ness. Some are just have more than others. Brick, Still Fighting It, Gracie, and Hiroshima are clearly very autobiographical. While the leak version of Bitch went Nutz and Rent-a-Cop are probably mostly fictional if not completely.

*

Offline Kidney05

  • *****
  • 1077
  • Gender: Male
  • woke up way too normal
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2010, 09:43:41 AM »
in the signature licks book it says alice childress is based off a patient in an insane asylum or sumtin along the lines of that....

is signature licks worth getting?
nobody deserves posts on their myspace site asking if they stabbed basketballs.

*

Offline worldswillgrow

  • **
  • 76
  • Gender: Female
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2010, 11:33:59 AM »
While the leak version of Bitch went Nutz and Rent-a-Cop are probably mostly fictional if not completely.

I would lol if either of those songs were autobiographical, even in the slightest sense.

Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2010, 12:23:08 PM »
Hiroshima is true. Been even says it in the song. "It's true. I fell"

I think a lot of whatever anyone writes is slightly autobiographical. We take what we know about something and make it our own, whether we mean to or not.

*

Offline DAVID

  • ****
  • 367
  • Gender: Male
  • A little blurry, but his face is worth it!
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2010, 01:36:57 PM »
in the signature licks book it says alice childress is based off a patient in an insane asylum or sumtin along the lines of that....

That's where the name comes from.  Anna Goodman wrote it as a parody of the way Ben writes songs, and Ben liked it enough that he wrote music to it, and then eventually got rid of almost all the words and replaced them with what we have now.  Specifically, it's about a couple who just doesn't really see eye to eye on the way that the world work
"Wait, he said 'good things come to those who wait,' but you didn't wait too long" "Keep listening" Kristen, on me and "Bruised"

*

Offline Ziggysane

  • ***
  • 108
  • I'm a llama!
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 09:47:24 PM »
Remember though, Ben has spoken specifically about the use of the "untrustworthy narrator" and the fact that there's no reason that his songs (or anyone's) have to be autobiographical, and that the narrator doesn't have to tell the truth.  He also has said that it frees you up to write as characters rather than being stuck as yourself all the time.  I think that he mentioned learning about it from Randy Newman.  (Newman in turn has criticized Springsteen in the past for basically always writing from the perspective of the same character.)  Newman also uses the example of writing from the perspective of a rapist in one of his songs (Suzanne), or his racist character in "Rednecks," which is probably the most famous example.  I think that comparing something like "Brick" and "Emaline", which are both supposed to be based on real people in Ben's life, and songs like "Mess" and "Rent-a-Cop" that probably aren't Ben (particularly the latter) is a good example of this.

*

Offline Kidney05

  • *****
  • 1077
  • Gender: Male
  • woke up way too normal
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2010, 04:34:46 PM »
Remember though, Ben has spoken specifically about the use of the "untrustworthy narrator" and the fact that there's no reason that his songs (or anyone's) have to be autobiographical, and that the narrator doesn't have to tell the truth.  He also has said that it frees you up to write as characters rather than being stuck as yourself all the time.  I think that he mentioned learning about it from Randy Newman.  (Newman in turn has criticized Springsteen in the past for basically always writing from the perspective of the same character.)  Newman also uses the example of writing from the perspective of a rapist in one of his songs (Suzanne), or his racist character in "Rednecks," which is probably the most famous example.  I think that comparing something like "Brick" and "Emaline", which are both supposed to be based on real people in Ben's life, and songs like "Mess" and "Rent-a-Cop" that probably aren't Ben (particularly the latter) is a good example of this.


that's kinda the point of this thread... discussing what would be true or untrue.
nobody deserves posts on their myspace site asking if they stabbed basketballs.

Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2010, 04:46:45 PM »
my favorite song by ben quite possibly is Selfless, cold, and composed.
in the iTunes essentials (i believe) he goes on about how this song is based on when he broke up with his girlfriend and was all together and cool with it, telling her that she could take whatever she wants it wont bother him, and she later wrote a letter or something explaining how hurtfull it was for him to not be affected by the break up.
So i guess Ben decided to show how he understood how mean that was of him and wrote the song from her perspective, and did an amazing job.

some songs like Fair feel like a collection of experiences from Ben and probably close friends.
i love how Ben can be so specific and yet vague at the same time. it draws you in to the story without alienating you.

*

Offline Brooooke

  • *****
  • 612
  • Gender: Female
  • "I'm pulling this out of my ass just for you!"
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2010, 11:45:57 PM »
"my favorite song by ben quite possibly is Selfless, cold, and composed."

....THIS.

*

Offline Iheartpiano

  • *
  • 39
  • Gender: Female
  • I want to live in Effington!
Re: Literal vs Story
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2010, 07:54:59 PM »
and some of his songs are true stories like not the same and steven's last night in town. Some are partially true like Hiro's song. And some i think he just made up like Kylie from Connecticut. I'm sure ben must have driven that from a story he heard. Then there are songs like cigarette which is literal. I believe Ben said that it was from a newspaper article or something like that. I tihnk all of Ben's song have him in it whether it be a story he heard or his personal experience. Oh course brainwascht is literally to someone who wrote a bad country demo about him. (i think it was to fleming and john even though ben never admitted it)
There's always someone cooler than you, so learn to live with what you are.