[[caption-width-right:350:He's rockin' the suburbs![[note]]Just like Music/MichaelJackson did![[/note]]]]

'''Benjamin Scott Folds''' (born September 12, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and amateur photographer from North Carolina.

In the mid-to-late '90s, he was he was the frontman for the piano-rock band Ben Folds Five, alongside bassist Robert Sledge on bass and drummer Darren Jessee on drums, who released three full albums to moderate critical success before amicably breaking up in 2000. Beginning with ''Rockin' The Suburbs'' a year later, he began a reasonably successful solo career.

Ben has also participated in a number of critically successful collaborations: he produced ''Has Been'', a surprisingly well-regarded album by Creator/WilliamShatner, was a PopStarComposer for the Creator/DreamworksAnimation film ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'', wrote the album ''Lonely Avenue'' with novelist Creator/NickHornby providing lyrics, and recorded a chamber pop album, ''So There'', with yMusic.

In 2009, Folds began judging on ''Series/TheSingOff'', an Creator/{{NBC}} a capella contest. He's frequently cited as the [[ShownTheirWork most competent]] judge on the panel.

After recording a couple of new songs for his retrospective album, ''The Best Imitation of Myself'', Ben Folds Five announced their reunion in early 2012, followed by the release of a crowd-funded new album later that year. The band made enough money from the donations to fund at least three more albums, meaning we'll be seeing a lot more Ben Folds Five in the coming years.

This page NeedsWikiMagicLove.

'''Ben Folds Five'''
* ''Ben Folds Five'' (1995)
* ''Whatever and Ever Amen'' (1997)
* ''Naked Baby Photos'' (1998) (b-sides collection)
* ''The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner'' (1999)
* ''The Sound of the Life of the Mind'' (2012)

'''Ben Folds'''
* ''Rockin' the Suburbs'' (2001)
* ''Songs for Silverman'' (2005)
* ''Way to Normal'' (2008)
* ''Lonely Avenue'' (2010)[[note]]Collaboration with Creator/NickHornby, who wrote all the lyrics.[[/note]]
* ''So There'' (2015)[[note]]Featured yMusic as his backing band.[[/note]]

!![[PerfectlyCromulentWord Tropography]]
* ACappella: After hearing a collegiate a cappella group cover his song "Brick", he subsequently got the idea to release a compilation album of his songs covered by collegiate a cappella groups. This also sparked his interest in a cappella music and the reason he's a judge on ''The Sing Off''.
* AlbumTitleDrop: ''Rockin' the Suburbs'' had a single of the same name.
** ''Lonely Avenue'' is also title dropped in the chorus in "Doc Pomus".
** And ''Way to Normal'''s title is dropped in "Effington".
** "Whatever and Ever Amen" is quoted in "The Battle of Who Could Care Less".
** The compilation album ''The Best Imitation of Myself'' includes the song of the same name.
** ''The Sound of the Life of the Mind'' includes a song with the same name.
** ''So There'' again includes a song with the same name.
* AntiChristmasSong: "Bizarre Christmas Incident" is about Santa dying while stuck in the chimney naked.
* ArtificialLimbs: According to the narrator of "Dr. Yang", he has plastic knees.
* AtomicFBomb: From "Rockin the Suburbs,"
-->It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
-->It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
-->It gets me real pissed off, makes me wanna say,
** The end of "Fired", combining this with MotherFBomb and PrecisionFStrike. ''In harmony!''
* AudienceParticipationSong: He has a ''lot'':
** Whether solo or with Ben Folds Five, he encourages the audience to perform the horn solo in "Army".
*** "Not The Same" seems to be a SpiritualSuccessor to this practice, in which Ben splits the audience into three sections to sing the harmonic "Ahhh"s.
** In "Song For The Dumped," he typically insists that the audience sings lines such as "fuck you too!"
** "Rock This Bitch," which, if requested enough by the crowd (and if he's in the mood), he'll improvise a song on the spot around the titular lyrics.
** "Underground" has a spoken opening, wherein the first line is said by Darren: "I was never cool in school, I'm sure you don't remember me." In live shows, this line gets a crowd response of, "Who the fuck are you?!"
*** Taken from the live version off of Naked Baby Photos. It was recorded in their hometown, and a friend of theirs yelled it, and the mics picked it up. Now it's a staple of the song live.
** The audience usually hollers the afore-mentioned AtomicFBomb during "Rockin' The Suburbs."
* BastardGirlfriend: The narrator from "Landed" has one who belittles him and keeps him from his friends.
--> ''She liked to push me''
--> ''And talk me back down''
--> '''Till [[{{Gaslighting}} I believed I was the crazy one]]''
--> ''And, [[NotSoAboveItAll in a way, I guess I was]]''
* BeardnessProtectionProgram: Referenced in "Effington"
--> I could change my name, grow a beard, start a family.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Ben rewrote the lyrics to "Rockin' The Suburbs" to be more family-friendly for the ''Over The Hedge'' soundtrack.
** The cover of ''Ben Folds Live'' kind of loses its humor when the clean version blurs out the middle fingers that take up about 70% of the image.
* BreakupSong: A few - "The Last Polka" is probably the first, and "Song For The Dumped" is probably the most well-known.
* ClusterFBomb: Parodied in ''Rockin' the Suburbs''.
-->You better look out, 'cause I'm gonna say "fuck"
-->You better look out, 'cause I'm gonna say "fuck"
-->You better look out, 'cause I'm gonna say "fuck"
-->You better look out, 'cause I'm gonna say "fuck"
-->You better look out, 'cause I'm gonna say "fuck"
** Played straight, if slightly downplayed, in the chorus of ''Levi Johnston's Blues'' To quote:
--> I'm a fuckin' redneck, I live to hang out with the boys,
--> Play some hockey, do some fishin', and kill some moose.
--> I like to shoot the shit, do some chillin' I guess.
--> You fuck with me and I kick your ass.
*** The chorus is actually taken from an infamous [=MySpace=] posting from Johnston.
** Also parodied in "Effington" where every instance of what you's expect is replaced with "effing".
* CountryMatters: Near the start of "The Bitch Went Nuts".
* CoverVersion: A few, most of which drastically change the genre.
** His infamous ''soft rock'' version of Music/DrDre's "Bitches Ain't Shit."
** A bossa nova version of Music/FlamingLips' "She Don't Use Jelly."
** A ska version of Music/TheClash's "Lost In The Supermarket" for the ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'' soundtrack.
*** A well as a few straightforward ones, such as [[Music/TheBuggles "Video Killed The Radio Star,"]] [[Music/TheCure "In Between Days"]], [[Music/EltonJohn "Tiny Dancer"]] and, for the ''Film/IAmSam'' soundtrack, [[Music/TheBeatles "Golden Slumbers."]]
* CreatorCameo: In Ben's music video for "Rockin' The Suburbs" by Music/WeirdAlYankovic, who directed the video.
** Al would later sing background vocals on "Time." Now try listening to that song again without laughing.
** Ben turned the favor around and played piano on Al's "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" (which was, appropriately, a style parody of Ben).
* DeadpanSnarker: Judging by his lyrics, Ben must have his tongue surgically implanted into his cheek.
* DidIMentionItsChristmas: As its opening line states, "Brick" takes place on December 26.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: In "From Above". Not only that, they basically never knew each other existed.
** Also on "Annie Waits". The titular Annie always waits on her unnamed signficant other to come back from work/wherever, and she's getting tired of waiting. The singer, meanwhile, pines for her and hopes that when Annie finally leaves her significant other, she'll be with him instead. But at the end of the song he sings:
-->''Headlights crest the hill''
-->''Who will be the one for evermore?''
-->''(ooh ooh) Annie, I could be''
-->''If we're both still lonely when we're old''
-->''Annie waits for the last time''
-->''Just the same as the last time''
-->''Annie waits''
-->''But not for me''
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: One of his side projects is a group called The Bens, which consists of him and two other guys named Ben.
* FoilerFootage: His band rerecorded alternate lyrics for all the songs on the ''Way to Normal'' album and leaked the "fake" versions on the internet.
* ForeignCussWord: Inverted. In the "Song for the Dumped" music video, Folds sings an entire verse and refrain in Japanese until he gets to "You bitch," which he sings in English.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In "Rockin' The Suburbs," the aforementioned ClusterFBomb is sung multiple times, starting low, quiet, and garbled, but each subsequent line is higher, louder, and more clear. The music video version doesn't start bleeping the word "fuck" until the last couple of repeats, so some slightly-garbled-but-unmistakeable uses of "fuck" are left uncensored.
* GranolaGirl: The "leaked" version of "The Bitch Went Nuts" is about an ultra-conservative accountant picking up one of these on his way to a Christmas party, only for her to utterly humiliate him in front of his bosses when she does a line of cocaine with them and goes on a hardcore liberal tirade.
* GratuitousJapanese: Ben sings an entire verse and a refrain in the "Song for the Dumped" music video, save for the last two words (you bitch!).
** There's a version of the song that's fully in Japanese (except the words "Fuck you too" and, again, "you bitch"); It was originally a bonus track to the Japanese edition of ''Whatever And Ever Amen'', so it's a bit less gratuitous in that context.
* GriefSong: "Carrying Cathy"
* HappyMarriageCharade: What "You To Thank" is about.
* HiddenTrack: Parodied, of all things, on ''Whatever And Ever Amen'': "I've got your hidden track... Ben Folds is a '''[[AtomicFBomb fucking asshole!]]'''"
* HypocriticalHumor: "Uncle Walter". Uncle Walter warns the singer not to smoke pot, with "tobacco juice rolling down his chin".
* InsistentTerminology: "Zak and Sara" has Sara-with-no-H and Zak-without-a-C.
* InTheStyleOf: Two of his songs ape two different Music/EltonJohn songs.
** "Hiroshima (B-B-B-B-B-Benny Hit His Head)" is, as the title suggests, is composed and produced to sound like "Benny And The Jets," both in the beat and the dubbed-in live audience.
** When his record label approached Ben about writing a potential single for ''Songs For Silverman'', he asked them sincerely "Be honest: what Elton John song do you want?" to which they replied "Tiny Dancer." The result was "Landed." Both songs even share an orchestral arranger in Paul Buckmaster.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In the sublimely silly "Draw a Crowd."
--> ''Now when pretty phrases don't mean nothing''
--> ''And I wanna sell 'em, I sing the line again''
--> ''So smooth, you can hear the beard''
--> ''So smooth, you can hear the beard''
--> ''[[RuleOfThree Three times is poetry]]''
--> '' So smooth, you can hear the beard''
* LonelyPianoPiece: Since the piano is Ben's primary instrument, these naturally come up.
* LoonyFan: "Saskia Hamilton shows shades of this.
--> I've only ever seen her name on a spine,
--> But that's enough, I want to make her mine!
* LyricalDissonance: Oh, he is a ''master'' at this.
** "Carrying Cathy" is a fairly upbeat, light song [[spoiler:about a mentally ill girl committing suicide]].
** "Still Fighting It" is a very melancholy song [[spoiler:celebrating the birth of Ben's twins]].
** "You Don't Know Me" is a cheery song [[spoiler:about a couple who barely know each other and can't figure out why they stay together]].
** "All U Can Eat" is a upbeat, bubbly song [[spoiler:about the deterioration of society]].
** "From Above" is an energetic and extremely catchy song. It's also [[spoiler:about people never knowing their soul-mates and (presumably) either dying alone or unhappy]].
** "Zak and Sara" is a 50's style rock and roll ballad [[spoiler:about a schizophrenic and a drug dealer]].
** "Jesusland" is a rather upbeat tune [[spoiler:about the Second Coming of Christ and [[BrokenPedestal Jesus becoming disgusted the people who believe in him]]]].
** His cover of "[[spoiler:Bitches Ain't Shit]]". That is all.
** "Hiroshima" is an energetic song [[spoiler:about him attempting to dive into a crowd in, of course, Hiroshima, only for he crowd to not understand and let him fall. He got a concussion. And bled on the keyboard. This is based off a true story.]] Depending on [[BlackComedy how dark you like it,]] It could double as a CrowningMomentOfFunny.
** "Password" is a crooning, mellow song [[spoiler:about a jealous boyfriend hacking into his ex-girlfriend's email account, only to find out she's been cheating on him this whole time]].
** "Steven's Last Night In Town" is [[spoiler:about a self-important asshole]]... done as a ''klezmer song''.
** "You to Thank" is probably the happiest song you'll ever hear about [[spoiler:marrying too soon and being trapped in a loveless marriage]].
** "Fair" is a peppy tune [[spoiler:about terrible things that happened to people in bad relationships, indcluding a man being hit and killed by his wife's car and another committing suicide in front of a huge crowd because his girlfriend broke up with him]]. But hey, all is fair in love!
** "Hiro's Song" is another peppy song [[spoiler:about an elderly, egocentric, and overall {{Jerkass}} man who left his family to date with his secretary, who's so young that she went to school with his daughter]].
** "The Secret Life of Morgan Davis" starts as a jazzy song [[spoiler:about an older man's boring life as a stockbroker]], but quickly turns into a jazzy song [[spoiler:about his risque life as a drug-dealer]].
-->He wants the lights, the jazz
-->[[spoiler:A piece of ass,]]
-->[[spoiler:A toothless bitch who'll blow him for a vial of crack!]]
-->[[spoiler:He cooks his junk in some Gatorade,]]
-->[[spoiler:And scores a bag of chronic on the East MLK!]]
** Both from ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'': "Family Of Me," an upbeat tune from the perspective of [[spoiler:a lonely character who's attempting denial about how badly his life is going]], and "Heist," a rocking number about [[spoiler:the excesses of suburban life]].
** "F10-D-A" uses the titular chord progression to construct a chamber pop song about getting [[spoiler:"[[StealthPun Effed in the A]]"]].
* MeetTheNewBoss: "The Ascent Of Stan," which is about a poor young man who revolts against his superiors, succeeds them and leaves his friends in the lurch once he gains power.
* MinisculeRocking: "Cigarette," "Family Of Me."
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: "Errant Dog" starts out as a song about someone who lost her dog, continues with dragging him to court and ends up with her wishing she could become a lesbian.
* MuppetCameo: [[Series/FraggleRock The Fraggles]] show up in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEyrfFwf3rI video of "Do it Anyway."]][[Note]]"With a D/A D/A big. Fat. D."[[/note]]
* MythologyGag: The text on the cover of ''Ben Folds Live'' is the font for Ben Folds Five with the F in "Five" turned upside down to look like an L.
* NonIndicativeName: Ben Folds Five only had three members in it, an [[InvertedTrope inversion]] of OneExtraMember. The reason? [[WordOfGod "Ben Folds Three]] [[CrowningMomentOfFunny sounds stupid."]]
** "Fred Jones, Part 2" in a weird example, as the character of Fred Jones first appeared in the lyrics to "Cigarette," which has never been referred to as "Fred Jones, Part 1."
* OlderThanTheyLook: If not for his bald spot, you'd think he was still in his mid-thirties.
* OldManConversationSong: Parodied in "Uncle Walter". The named uncle is crazy and talks about riding through the sky in his magical armchair and cooking up a mail order scheme with his son, among other things.
* PachelbelsCanonProgression: The chorus of "The Luckiest" is a variation of this.
* ParentalLoveSong: Two of the "parent to child" variety, one for each of his twins. "Still Fighting It" is for his song Louis and "Gracie" for his daughter of the same name.
* PopStarComposer: He wrote four new songs, re-recorded an old one and covered another for the ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'' soundtrack. His involvement is wildly regarded as one of the film's best aspects.
* PunkRock: Ben Folds Five described their music as "punk rock for pussies."
* PrecisionFStrike: "The Battle of Who Could Care Less", "Rockin' The Suburbs", among others
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: "Best Imitation of Myself" includes the following lyric:
--> ''The 'problem with you' speech you gave me was fine
--> I liked the theories about my little stage
--> And I swore I was listening but I started drifting
--> Around the part about me acting my age''
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The lyrics for "Cigarette" are taken verbatim a newspaper article about a woman who set her house on fire while smoking in bed.
** The chorus for "Levi Johnson Blues" is similarly taken from the titular subject's [=MySpace=] page.
* [[RockersSmashGuitars Rockers Throw Piano Benches]]
* SayingSoundEffectsOutLoud: An instance of sorts occurs in "Effington" where the narrator very crudely scats the "theme song" to Effington by going da-da-da a couple times.
* SerialSpouse: Ben has been married and divorced four times.
* ShamelessSelfPromoter: In ''Rocking the Suburbs'':
--> Y'all don't know what it's like
--> Being male, middle class, and white.
--> It's a bitch if you don't believe.
--> Listen up to my new CD!
* ShoutOut: ''Ode to Merton''
** Several in ''Rocking the Suburbs'', including Michael Jackson, Quiet Riot, and Jon Bon Jovi.
** "Not The Same" mentions Ben Folds Five bassist Robert Sledge. As does "Rubber Sled" by Ben Folds' side project Fear Of Pop, sort of: The song initially sounds like it's based around a repeated sample of Ben Folds yelling "rubber sled!", but just once he lets the voice clip go on long enough to reveal that it's actually "'''Rober'''t '''Sled'''ge on the bass guitar!".
** From "The Battle Of Who Could Care Less": "See, I got your old ID, and you're all dressed up like Music/TheCure."
** ''Songs for Silverman'' was supposed to be named for Ben Folds' A&R representative Ben Goldman, because Ben Folds was frequently sending him his demos for the album. The record label nixed the title, so "Goldman" became "Silverman". Related is the online-only ''Silverman'' bonus album ''Songs for Goldfish''.
* SillyLoveSongs: Parodied in the middle-eight of "One Down," where he sings the blandest, most contrived declaration of love ("I love you more than all the stars up in the sky") to represent the kind of junk he was once contractualy obligated to write. Played straight, however, with "The Luckiest," which has since become a staple wedding song.
* SingingSimlish: He very briefly scats in ''"Effington"''. See SayingSoundEffectsOutLoud above. A couple of Ben Folds Five songs also have this - "Steven's Last Night In Town" has a scatted bridge, while the chorus of "Fair" consists entirely of "Ba ba ba".
* SingleStanzaSong: "Cigarette" and "Hospital Song".
* SmallNameBigEgo: The basis for ''There's Always Someone Cooler Than You''
* SoapboxSadie: The eponymous woman in the "leaked" (see: re-written) version of "Bitch Went Nuts."
-->"She called us bigots with her first in the air
-->And when she did, we all could see all her armpit hair"
* TheSomethingSong: "The Frown Song"
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: "Zak and Sara" (The song constantly insists it's spelled without a "C" or an "H," respectively)
* StudioChatter: Prevalent throughout ''Whatever And Ever Amen'' - the album was recorded in a house instead of a conventional studio, so they decided to include the chatter to give the album more of a raw, "personal" feel and make the listener more accepting of the less than optimal recording quality. The ''Speed Graphic'' EP version of "Dog" (not to be confused with "Errant Dog") ends with Ben taking a cellphone call from his then-wife during the instrumental outro, eventually telling her "We're doin' a vocal track. Um, you're all over it now".
* TakeThat: Ben wrote "Rockin' the Suburbs" in response to a Spin Magazine interview with Music/{{Korn}} where the members called him a lame opening act who only rocked as hard as the theme song to ''Series/{{Cheers}}''. It's also directed at the "angry white boy" culture that the NuMetal genre had spawned.
-->"I'm rockin' the suburbs!\\
Just like Music/MichaelJackson did!\\
I'm rockin' the suburbs!\\
Except that he was talented!\\
I'm rockin' the suburbs!\\
I take the checks and face the facts\\
That some producer with computers\\
Fixes all my [[PrecisionFStrike shitty]] tracks!"
** From his album ''Lonely Avenue'', the song ''A Working Day'' is a highly sarcastic TakeThat to an internet critic.
-->Some guy on the 'net thinks I suck, and he should know-\\
He's got his own blog!\\
I'm a loser, and a poser!\\
It's over, it's over!\\
I mean it and I quit!\\
Everything I write is shit!
** "One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces" is one to all of the kids who picked on him in school who made him feel worthless.
* TakeThatMe: Present in "Army," which was based on a conversation Ben had with his dad (quoted at the beginning of the song) and parodying his early years.
** "Rockin The Suburbs" - He lists his producer in the liner notes as "Shitty Track Fixer," a reference to a line from the song.
** Ben Folds Five originally marketed themselves as "punk rock for pussies."
** The cover of ''Ben Folds Live'' is a picture of and exasperated Ben with his back to an entire audience [[FlippingTheBird giving him the finger]].
* [[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch This Is For Emphasis, You Bitch]]: "Song For The Dumped."
* TeasingCreator: "Uncle Walter." When asked if the song was about a real person, Ben and the band would make up outrageous stories.
** Taken [[LiteralMinded literally]] in "Effington":
--> If there's a God, he is laughing at us and our football team.
* TheVillainSucksSong: ''There's Always Someone Cooler Than You'' Well, it's more of a "The Guy the Song is Directed to is an Asshole" Song, but the feeling's still there.
* YouDontLookLikeYou: "The Best Imitation Of Myself."