Last one from Ben (and its even longer)

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Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« on: September 01, 2008, 07:25:15 PM »
I know i slacked on the caps for a bit - a relapse.  I will work on the paragraph structure as well.  But let me tell you that I'm somebody who passed music theory and ear training with D's.  So I'm not always with the program on form.  I knew the material in my own way but I just didn't do shit like put the do re me in my sightsinging or put the time signature.  I should have.

You might have read it, but I had a back and forth with the .org that turned into an interesting dialogue.  They're not so bad.  I suggest we all light candles at midnight, hold hands and sing songs of hope and peace together.  After having signed up a screen name over there and over here, I'm going back into remission soon.  I'll leave you all alone.  But first a blog with length and girth of mind numbing proportions!

I'll just speak some about the album in a way that I'm not going to be able to articulate in the wider press.  The album will probably be taken a dozen ways.. well, probably two ways.  Literally and not.  I can't complain if people go the literal route.  I have courted that in this record and will have to face the music when its taken on face value, from the songs to the artwork.

The artwork is of the movie stills variety.  Its playing on the same character that nobody can possibly feel sorry for;  the poor rich guy who doesn't have to pay in coffee shops.  

We borrowed a hollywood style mansion for a day and shot in every room.  I just sat and made the same sad face in each shot while Jared and Sam were paid as butler and car driver to hang out with me and make sure I wasn't going to kill myself.  Its really silly.  But the idea was to put one line quotes from the songs, rather out of context to set each photograph off in some way.  Although my favorite line/photograph combination ended up being a blank black page that just says "its just a thought but where did it come from".  Last page.  Anyway, you get the idea - sad rich man, lonely in his mansion, eating his TV dinner, putting up his golf clubs and occasionally trying some eastern ways of life.  This is supposed to be me, but of course my own 1800 square foot tudor house with kiddie stuff strewn and stacks of books with no shelves wouldn't have quite suited our purposes.  The British packaging style would have been to stay in character for the whole package, but we're American and so we have to show the behind the scenes too just to show you I'm real - thus the smiling candid black and white in studio shots in the center of the artwork.

The concept grew out of the songs like Free Coffee, The Frown Song, Dr Yang.  I see a lot of frowning people who don't seem to be very grateful for what they have.  They've always been around but it seems like they're coming into vogue.  They're in magazines ,ads, and especially present in the new age/ yoga sector.  That doesn't mean everyone who has money or who goes to spas is like this - I'm just amazed that there's some kind of marketing power in their poutiness (izzat a werd?).  I used to wait tables for people like that, but I feel they got worse or proliferated somehow recently.  I honestly don't think they're as sad as they appear.  I think its just in style, like being bored was in style for a while.  Anyway, this is what was on my mind when I was writing those songs.  I just wondered if those people couldn't just remember a few years ago when they were the servants... it seems to be the new rich that are the mean ones.  I'm finished thinking about that now though.  haha.  I got it out of my system and now its on a record.

Free Coffee was also an attempt to sum up how fast my life has flown by.  BFF literally took days off of work to play a few gigs in 1994 which turned into more gigs which turned into tours and albums and promotion... then one day (years later) we came home for a few weeks.  When I came back I had all this shit I didn't have before.  I wanted to make that unfold in one absurd verse.  I still have that backback although its on its last leg.  People treated me differently but I felt the same.  I was always happy to get nice treatment.  But getting free shit when you're successful drives home the snowballing value added benefits of capitalism huh?  I don't mind that I didn't get it before, or that I get it now.  I just think its funny to say and I've never quite heard it in a song.  Its very ugly to hear someone say they're rich unless its a rap record... its still ugly I guess.

Speaking of ugly - Hiroshima.  For anyone that just can't deal with the literal tone of it and its repetitiveness its really about public failure .  The literalness and the repetition is part of it.  Its ugly to say you're rich and its just as ugly to sing your woes moment to moment about being famous and falling off a stage.  But public humiliation is a fascination in our society whether its a governor with a call girl or a president falling down stairs.  I had no interest in weaving those messages in like you would in a term paper (which works for some songs) nor did I have interest in complicating the chords or melody.  All those things I tried sounded too brainy for me.  I didn't want people to think I was talking ABOUT those things - to speak from a perpective of awareness.  I wanted to BE those things.  That's uglier.  They're watching me fall (Big deal assh*le!)   And in case anyone is interested in what's in my head, I've got x-rays but that's about as much as I'll ever let you in on.  The other sub-angle intended with the lyric is the suggestion that I might have gotten brain damage which one could speculate brings about some of where the hero finds himself as the album unfolds.

But I wasn't into ugly for the whole album - I was just enjoying the effect of it.  I remember when I would catch all kinds of shit for writing words like "stupid" into a song called Emaline.
People didn't do that so often and I've always liked pushing clunky lyrical ideas where they're not musically welcome.  "Maybe he's been seriously hurt" in Annie Waits caused a long long argument where the producer wanted me to take out syllables.  The diaper line will put off quite a few listeners but that's the kind of stuff that comes across your field of vision and into your head while you're in the middle of life.  Sometimes its a good effect and sometimes not.  I think I'll let time decide about some of these.  They're intentional, and they're intentionally not flattering.  Who knows.  You just have to do whatever it is that floats your boat.

Takes a deep breath and finishes a post in part two (8000 characters were exceeded...)


Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2008, 07:26:18 PM »
anyway, where was I...

There's only one other song I feel I should explain for the moment, and tell how it came to be.

Kylie From Connecticut. 
I asked Nick Hornby, the novelist, if he would want to take a crack at the lyrics for the music to this song.  It had no title or words, just me singing la la's.  I was stuck.  I sent him an mp3 to see what he'd come up with, although I knew that was a very difficult way to write - music first puts the lyricist in a box to begin with although that's the way I've always written.  I love Nick's writing and he's game to write lyrics every once in a while.  Lucky me.  He didn't disappoint.  He wrote this great set of lyrics but it just didn't sit in the song musically without my revising them and I'm sorry, I'm not revising a syllable of that man's work - it was perfect on its own but just wasn't a match for that song - it was a syllable thing. 

I suggested that maybe the chorus should have proper consonance.  I suggested it sound something like "Kylie is Calling from Connecticut".  His lyrics were about the Elvis comeback TV show and a young lady you can see who was immortalized, who's now older.  It was really cool.  Anyway, once the dummy words Kylie from Connecticut came out of my mouth, and entire scene and lyrics came spewing forth so I finished the song myself and  I wrote a completely new other song to the lyrics about the comeback show which we I'll record when I have any time at all. 

What I visualized when saying the words "Kylie is calling from Connecticut" was an older woman who'd stuck her marriage out through thick and thin, 1950's style.  Dedication and perseverance. She has always suspected her husband had affairs but she's also always said that she just didn't want to know.  This is the way an older generation dealt and Its a viable way to deal.  But one day, probably in her mid 60's she finds a slip of paper on her husband's desk, written by his secretary that says "Kylie called from Ct.  She says you've got the number".  So her husband is out of town for the weekend and as she's in bed alone, as she often is, her imagination gets the best of her.  But she begins to realize that her imagination and her suspicions that are eating her up are because in truth she hasn't been in love with her husband for so long that she's not sure she can recall a time when she was.  In fact, as the song says, her heart belongs to a man she had an affair with years ago, who she would have spent her life with but for the fact that she had young children.  And so as she looks through the closet, her memories, things she's never told anyone, she turns out the lights and goes to sleep.  Of course that means she dies in first semester of english lit.  I won't write a sequel of her husband and Kylie in his convertible rolling in Los Vegas. 

Okay, I've typed more than anyone is going to want to read.  I type about as fast as I talk although these f*cking caps are slowing me down a bit!

Tomorrow RollingStone.com is going to announce what I'm still not allowed to until they say it first.  I'm going to bed.  And thus concludes my career as a blogman. 


Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2008, 07:32:13 PM »
Wow, awesome.  Thanks for posting Ben

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Offline general_apathy (Chloe)

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2008, 07:40:21 PM »
Thanks again, Ben! We really appreciate you stopping by, and you're welcome here anytime.

(that sorta rhymed, cool!)

P.S. Nick Hornby is awesome...I think I've read just about everything that man has put out. That's pretty cool about him writing lyrics for you!
My new philosophy is that a crappy tape deck somewhere plays a greatest hits collection of strange and tender moments, lost, stranded, and forgotten. I'll meet you there.

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Offline caats19

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2008, 08:19:24 PM »
thx for saying we aren't so bad, but i prefer my .org sig of you telling us to suck dick. ciao.

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Offline Kidney05

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2008, 08:35:10 PM »
anyway, where was I...

There's only one other song I feel I should explain for the moment, and tell how it came to be.

Kylie From Connecticut. 
I asked Nick Hornby, the novelist, if he would want to take a crack at the lyrics for the music to this song.  It had no title or words, just me singing la la's.  I was stuck.  I sent him an mp3 to see what he'd come up with, although I knew that was a very difficult way to write - music first puts the lyricist in a box to begin with although that's the way I've always written.  I love Nick's writing and he's game to write lyrics every once in a while.  Lucky me.  He didn't disappoint.  He wrote this great set of lyrics but it just didn't sit in the song musically without my revising them and I'm sorry, I'm not revising a syllable of that man's work - it was perfect on its own but just wasn't a match for that song - it was a syllable thing. 

I suggested that maybe the chorus should have proper consonance.  I suggested it sound something like "Kylie is Calling from Connecticut".  His lyrics were about the Elvis comeback TV show and a young lady you can see who was immortalized, who's now older.  It was really cool.  Anyway, once the dummy words Kylie from Connecticut came out of my mouth, and entire scene and lyrics came spewing forth so I finished the song myself and  I wrote a completely new other song to the lyrics about the comeback show which we I'll record when I have any time at all. 

What I visualized when saying the words "Kylie is calling from Connecticut" was an older woman who'd stuck her marriage out through thick and thin, 1950's style.  Dedication and perseverance. She has always suspected her husband had affairs but she's also always said that she just didn't want to know.  This is the way an older generation dealt and Its a viable way to deal.  But one day, probably in her mid 60's she finds a slip of paper on her husband's desk, written by his secretary that says "Kylie called from Ct.  She says you've got the number".  So her husband is out of town for the weekend and as she's in bed alone, as she often is, her imagination gets the best of her.  But she begins to realize that her imagination and her suspicions that are eating her up are because in truth she hasn't been in love with her husband for so long that she's not sure she can recall a time when she was.  In fact, as the song says, her heart belongs to a man she had an affair with years ago, who she would have spent her life with but for the fact that she had young children.  And so as she looks through the closet, her memories, things she's never told anyone, she turns out the lights and goes to sleep.  Of course that means she dies in first semester of english lit.  I won't write a sequel of her husband and Kylie in his convertible rolling in Los Vegas. 

Okay, I've typed more than anyone is going to want to read.  I type about as fast as I talk although these f*cking caps are slowing me down a bit!

Tomorrow RollingStone.com is going to announce what I'm still not allowed to until they say it first.  I'm going to bed.  And thus concludes my career as a blogman. 



you'll always be the man... it's song ideas like that which made me fall in love with music in the first place.. so brilliant.  i love it.  ben, you are my hero... post more often!
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Offline rccody

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2008, 08:52:10 PM »
i think it's neat when people get to be this articulate and expressive--er i mean, when people can constructively express stuff

it's a rare but welcome gem in the midst of "lol so random XD" that i'm somewhat used to being around

thanks much ben please post more but not so much or your head might explode (from the stuff clogging your ear)

(ノ゚◡◡゚)ノ☆

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Offline You Dont Know Zach

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2008, 09:00:01 PM »
I know i slacked on the caps for a bit - a relapse.  I will work on the paragraph structure as well.  But let me tell you that I'm somebody who passed music theory and ear training with D's.  
Wow, I thought that was impossible. The Great Ben Folds proving me wrong with D's. I'll probably end doing the same, just 'cuz I said something.

In the end it's brightend my day and made me laugh, which is great 'cuz I can take my mind off the $175 ticket waiting on the counter. f*cking Cops.
dont overplay, keep it simple and in the pocket, support the song, and you will be asked to play more than you have time to. - Chuck Folds

http://www.last.fm/user/YoudontknowZach

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Offline Allison

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2008, 09:00:43 PM »
This is all very fascinating. Thanks for taking the time out to be a "blogman" Ben.


And I'm glad whoever-the-woman-in-Kylie-is, is not going to Vegas. She seems too classy.

Okay, I've typed more than anyone is going to want to read.  I type about as fast as I talk although these f*cking caps are slowing me down a bit!
We're mainly kidding about the caps thing. It's always been in your style... oh there's some post around here somewhere that says cause something was written with caps it couldn't be you. And more than anyone is going to want to read? I think not. Especially not true when it comes to back stories of songs. You really can't go wrong there at all.



One of these days I'm going to learn how to spell Connecticut properly. And just talking about that song makes me want to listen..... muussssstt resist...... album out in less than a month... UNLESS it's been orchestrated and we're seeing it this week. (OHPLZ!)
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

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Offline TheGreatBenfolio

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2008, 09:18:55 PM »
Good job mating the "shift" key (or whatever Macs have these days) with letters to start off sentences and proper nouns.

 \m/

Glad you stopped by. Again.

Too bad you don't do it more often, but all our heads would probably explode. That and you would become WAY TOO FAMILIAR with us (and probably vice versa) if we all opened up and become a big happy online family.

Thanks for taking the time, and explaining some of the dirty details. I miss the old days where everything about every song and album were laid out by those in the know. Now it's mostly guesses and old fogies that have been around since the beginning ('97 for me, internet-wise since '00) that we have to rely on. It's nice to have the input from the man.

And now I'm going to bed. Have to be up for work at 5:30, yay!

Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2008, 09:43:29 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to give some insight on the new songs. Kylie has by far been my favorite of the new songs so far, and its cool to hear about it.

I envision myself hitting the "refresh" button on rollingstone's homepage from about 5am tomorrow 'till I pass out.
I know you're in there, I can see you. You're saying you're okay, I don't believe you.

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Offline senselessdrum

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2008, 10:24:10 PM »
i love you bong folds plz sign my breasts
thanks for taking the time to write to us all.

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Offline caliban10

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2008, 10:50:30 PM »
Ben, I know it's probably nearly impossible to do but ignore how people react to your songs. Make your music, not theirs.

And so far, you're doing just fine. (Ignore that.)

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Offline caliban10

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2008, 10:51:49 PM »
Oh and what's with the price of the WTN box?

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Offline senselessdrum

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Re: Last one from Ben (and its even longer)
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2008, 10:54:08 PM »
How would he know? And don't you know Ben never comes by and reads these things. Have you ever known Bem to do that?