Brick (song)

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"Brick"
Single by Ben Folds Five
from the album Whatever and Ever Amen
B-side "Smoke (Live), "Kate (Ska remix)," "Mitchell Lane"
Released January 1, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded Sep 1996-Oct 1996
Genre Alternative rock, emo
Length 4:31
Label Epic
Writer(s) Ben Folds, Darren Jessee
Ben Folds Five singles chronology
"One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces"
(1997)
"Brick"
(1998)
"Song for the Dumped"
(1998)

"Brick" is a song performed by Ben Folds Five released on their 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen and later on Ben Folds Live.[1] The verses were written by Ben Folds about his high school girlfriend undergoing an abortion, and the chorus was written by the band's drummer, Darren Jessee. "Brick" was one of Ben Folds Five's biggest hits, gaining much mainstream radio play in the USA, the UK, and Australia in 1998.

Backstory[edit]

On the album Ben Folds Live, Folds explained: "People ask me what this song's about... I was asked about it a lot, and I didn't really wanna make a big hairy deal out of it, because I just wanted the song to speak for itself. But the song is about when I was in high school, me and my girlfriend had to get an abortion, and it was a very sad thing. And, I didn't really want to write this song from any kind of political standpoint, or make a statement. I just wanted to reflect what it feels like. So, anyone who's gone through that before, then you'll know what the song's about."[2]

On Folds' recent iTunes Originals compilation, he confesses that he had attempted to write a song about the abortion for quite some time, but he had trouble getting the song finished because it was too literal, but thanks to Darren Jessee's chorus, the song was given just enough mystique to be the hit that it was. (Folds even jokes that "I've never understood a hit chorus. I wish I did.")

Folds wrote the song on guitar rather than piano, and performed it as such on tour with The Bens in 2003. [3]

Fan response[edit]

In his iTunes Originals interviews, Folds addresses his fanbase's disapproval: "When you have a hit song, much of your fanbase and people that listen to your music... their opinion is gonna be loud and clear that they feel that you've abandoned the fanbase; you've written something that's not for them, it's for everybody else, you've 'sold out', all kinds of things like that... That was the overwhelming vibe... 'What is that crap?'... because we'd been playing silly, up-tempo... we were the piano band that rocks... We couldn't even fit the song into a show."[citation needed]

He goes on to explain in the same interview that he was not put off by the fans: "When I look back on it, I think that the fact that that song was a hit gives me some confidence in pop music because the song is completely honest, what it is, it's crafted well, it's relaxed, it's recorded in a way that we'd never recorded a song before, which was absolutely live, three or four microphones in a bedroom. The song cannot have more integrity than it had."

In the Hottest 100 songs of all time poll conducted by Australian radio station Triple J in July 2009, Brick placed in at #67. More than half a million votes were cast in to the poll.[4]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1997) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 19
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks 11
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 6
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 17


Music video[edit]

The music video features the band performing in front of a film projected on a screen on a wall, with several inches of water covering the floor.

Actress and artist Ariana Richards appears as a pregnant teen in the music video of the song.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Brick" - 4:43
  2. "Smoke" - 4:52
  3. "Kate" - 3:14
  4. "Fair" - 4:43
  5. "Mitchell Lane" - 3:40

References[edit]

External links[edit]