Benjamin Scott Folds is an American singer and songwriter from North Carolina. Until 1998, he was the frontman for Ben Folds Five (alongside Robert Sledge on bass and Darren Jessee on drums), a piano-rock band that released three full albums to moderate critical success. The band broke up for unknown reasons, but judging from interviews and the fact that they had a reunion concert, it didn't seem to be a bitter break-up. After 2000, he began a reasonably successful solo career. In addition, he produced ''Has Been'', a surprisingly well-regarded album by Creator/WilliamShatner. His album ''Lonely Avenue'' was a collaboration with Nick Hornby writing the lyrics.

In 2006, he wrote the songs for the film ''Film/OverTheHedge''. He also supplied ''Red is Blue'' to ''{{Hoodwinked}}''.

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

In early 2012, Folds announced the reunion of his original band, as well as a brand new album to be released in September of that year. As soon as a donation website was put up to help fund the album, the band made enough money to make at least three more albums, meaning we'll be seeing a lot more Ben Folds Five in the coming years.

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'''Ben Folds Five'''
* ''Ben Folds Five'' (1995)
* ''Whatever and Ever Amen'' (1997)
* ''Naked Baby Photos'' (1998) (general mish-mash of odd songs left over from old albums, etc.)
* ''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)

!![[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.
* 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.
* AudienceParticipationSong: He has a ''lot'':
** Whether solo or with Ben Folds Five, he encourages the audience to perform the horn solo in "Army".
** 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.
* 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.
* 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 shoot 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".
* CreatorCameo: In Ben's music video for "Rockin' The Suburbs" by Music/WeirdAlYankovic, who helped make the video.
* 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.
* 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!).
* 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.
* 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 / 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 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 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]]. Sample lyrics:
-->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!]]
* {{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 [[ video of "Do it Anyway."]]
* NonIndicativeName: Ben Folds Five only had three members in it, an [[InvertedTrope inversion]] of OneExtraMember.
* 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.
* 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''
* 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 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''.
* 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"
* SmallNameBigEgo: The basis for ''There's Always Someone Cooler Than You''
* 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 ''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: "Rockin' the Suburbs" is a direct TakeThat to {{Korn}} after they called out Ben Folds Five for not being a heavy rock band in Spin Magazine.
-->"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!
* 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.
* 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.
* ThrowItIn: During the recording of "Steven's Last Night in Town", Ben's phone rang. It was such perfect timing, coming right between the crescendo and final line, that the band left it in, as well as guitarist Robert Sledge's laugh.