Ben for Jen

Last week, I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. 

My friend Jen informed me that she was not very familiar with Ben Folds.  I felt guilty.  This was my fault – I hadn’t spread the good news.  If I didn’t get Ben into her life quickly, she could be left behind and never experience his triumphant music.  She came by with a blank CD right before I was headed home from work.  So, in 14 minutes, I put together a Ben Folds Compilation CD to introduce her to the wonder that is Ben Folds (in my defense, I included Brick for historical purposes).  I tried to give a good mix, but include true “Ben Folds” type tunes (no Hospital Room, folks). What did I forget?  Which standards do you think I included?

Already ran these questions by Husbanks.  His comments …
1. “Late is a little cheesy.”
2. “What about You Were Not The Same, Army and Sports and Wine?

I am especially expecting Steph Brown, Ward, and Elenaran to sound off on this … maybe I can make a Ben for Jen II with your comments.

Ben for Jen CD
Brick
Gone
Philosophy
The Luckiest
Best Imitation of Myself
Jesusland
Mess
Late
Landed
Gracie
You Don’t Know Me
Magic
Alice Childress
Hiroshima
Lullaby
Zak and Sara
Eddie Walker
Song for the Dumped
Underground
One Down

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  1. #1 by Ward on February 23, 2009 - 4:47 pm

    Elenaran and I did a mix within the last couple years (that I still need to burn for the person for whom we made it); I’ll let him post the tracklist for it.

    I do find Late a little cheesy. It’s touching, but I don’t think it bears repeat listening well.

    Not the Same is a solid song but I’m not sure it’s essential. Same for Army, except it’s more solid and more essential.

    Sports & Wine, though? Some nice instrumental bits but not his best songwriting.

    Your choices are pretty solid. Brick’s still a kick-ass song and I’ll fight anybody that says different. Philosophy is an essential, I think. Best Imitation is close, though there are a bunch of songs off the self-titled album that compete with it for a spot on a Ben mix. Mess is good but I’m a huge fan of Don’t Change Your Plans and would probably do that instead. Landed is good but the mix with strings that’s on the Landed single is the best version. It kills me that You Don’t Know Me wasn’t a hit for him. I’d probably leave Magic out. Alice Childress, definitely a classic. I tend to think Hiroshima is pretty weak; Elenaran feels far more extremely about that, though. I think Lullaby is a really excellent song. Zak & Sara is good, though I might have replaced it with something else. Song for the Dumped has worn a little thin over time but it’s a great intro to Ben. Underground, classic. One Down isn’t essential but is an interesting way to close the CD.

    Other favorites that you left off? Ben Folds Five stuff is Video, Last Polka, Narcolepsy, Smoke or Selfless, EVAPORATED, I think Air is severely underrated, Eddie Walker, Emaline (version off of the Australian bonus disc for Reinhold Messner), Twin Falls.

    His solo output is a little thinner. You’ve got a lot of them. I probably wouldn’t do much from Rockin’ the Suburbs. You hit the high points on Songs for Silverman, though I like You to Thank a lot and have an odd fascination with Prison Food. I think the cover of In Between Days kicks a ton of ass.

    Well, that’s all disorganized, but if I were to take time and actually give you a thorough, well-though-out response, it’d probably take the time of a 20-page paper I probably shouldn’t take the time to write right now.

  2. #2 by b on February 23, 2009 - 6:03 pm

    I love the mix that matt & i made, but I agree – picking your favorite Ben/BFF songs is like picking your favorite child. Keep in mind, we made this mix pre-Way to Normal:

    1)Annie Waits
    2)Don’t Change Your Plans
    3)Jesusland
    4)Philosophy
    5)Emaline (Ben Folds Five version w/ piano from Reinhold Messner Australian Bonus Disc)
    6)Narcolepsy
    7)Smoke
    8)Eddie Walker (Naked Baby Photos version)
    9)The Last Polka
    10)Bruised (from The Bens)
    11)Kate
    12)In Between Days
    13)Landed (w/ strings)
    14)Evaporated

    My fav two Ben/BFF songs of all time are Emaline and Narcolepsy. I’m kinda surprised you left Evaporated off – I thought that was one of your favorites?

    “I tend to think Hiroshima is pretty weak; Elenaran feels far more extremely about that, though.” – hehe, I can’t stand Hiroshima – Joe loves it though.

    Also, a note about mixes. Matt & I are both of the school of thought that you don’t want to overwhelm a newcomer to an artist with a billion songs. I think we both try to stay under (or at least close to) the hour mark when we make mixes – just something to think about.

    Overall, everyone’s got their own tastes, but I think your original CD did pretty well!

  3. #3 by Ward on February 23, 2009 - 7:40 pm

    I mistakenly listed Eddie Walker under the songs you left off, not the songs I included. My bad.

    Also, ideal mix length is 45 minutes. But keeping to that is hard!

  4. #4 by hilstreet on February 23, 2009 - 7:51 pm

    Man, Ben Folds fans are passionate! Wish we were sharing these sentiments over Pangeos and endless Dr. Pepper … or on the Ben Folds cruise that didn’t happen!

    1. Thanks for the 45 minute tip – that is a good point.
    2. “Don’t Change your Plans” – I should have included that.
    3. I forgot about “Evaporated!” Yes, another good one.
    4. I also like “Give Judy My Notice” – NOT on Silverman but on the Speed Graphic EP.
    5. Speaking of Speed Graphic … I love “Wandering” too.
    6. “Still Fighting it?” A wrong omission?

  5. #5 by Dawkins on February 24, 2009 - 2:57 am

    I love reading these comments almost as much as listening to the CD. I’ll have to listen to it at least 10 times before I can tell you which ones I love. That’s me. I make many rash decisions in life, but not about music.

    Dispatch. Tomorrow. I swear.

  6. #6 by tierd on February 24, 2009 - 3:44 am

    I’m another Jen who doesn’t know Ben … apparently I need to fix this!

  7. #7 by Ward on February 24, 2009 - 6:52 pm

    4. Yes; definitely the superior version of “Judy”.
    5. Yeah, I have a soft spot for “Wandering”.
    6. Good point. “Still Fighting It” is probably one of my favorite tracks on Suburbs.

  8. #8 by b on February 25, 2009 - 8:27 pm

    what’s Jen think?

  9. #9 by hilstreet on February 25, 2009 - 9:16 pm

    b –

    Jen = Dawkins. She needs the 10 times.

    In related news … I met Anderew Gerfers last night!

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