Whatever and Ever Amen

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Whatever and Ever Amen
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 18, 1997
RecordedSeptember–October 1996, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
GenreAlternative rock
Label550, Caroline Rec, Epic
ProducerBen Folds, Caleb Southern
Ben Folds Five chronology
Ben Folds Five
Whatever and Ever Amen
Naked Baby Photos
Singles from Whatever and Ever Amen
  1. "Battle of Who Could Care Less"
    Released: 1997
  2. "Kate"
    Released: 1997
  3. "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces"
    Released: 1997
  4. "Brick"
    Released: November 21, 1997
  5. "Song for the Dumped"
    Released: 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyA[4]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[5]
Q4/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[9]

Whatever and Ever Amen is the second album by Ben Folds Five, released in 1997. A remaster was made available on March 22, 2005. All of the extra tracks had been previously released (as b-sides, soundtrack contributions, etc.) except for a cover of the Buggles song "Video Killed the Radio Star", which is a staple of Ben Folds Five's live show.

Title, recording and cover[edit]


While recording the album, Folds told the Sheffield Electronic Press in November 1996 that the album would likely either be titled Cigarette or The Little Girl With Teeth.[11]

The title Whatever and Ever Amen comes from a line in the song "Battle of Who Could Care Less." Helped by a comedic video directed by Norwood Cheek, "Battle of Who Could Care Less" helped the band break through in the UK in early 1997.


The album's original cover featured individual photos of Folds, Sledge, and Jessee, along with a hand-drawn Ben Folds Five logo, and a hand-drawn "Whatever and Ever Amen." The 2005 remastered version shuffled these photos around, and added a fourth photo of all three bandmates sitting together.


The album was recorded in the front room of a house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Folds said, "You can't go for perfection in a house. The spiritual comet of the song comes by every so often and lots of technical things are going to be going wrong when that happens. Our producer, Caleb is very good at knowing when the ghost blew through the house. People don't buy records for the accuracy." The first release for their new label, Epic, Folds said the record company did not get to hear the recording until it was finished, saying, "they knew what they were getting into".[12]

Track notes[edit]

Near the end of the Nerdist podcast #132, Folds mentioned that the lyrics for "Cigarette" were taken from a newspaper article about a man who sought a divorce from his wife after finding out she had a brain tumour, on the basis that she was not the same person he had married. The "sequel" track, "Fred Jones Part Two", is on Folds' first solo album, Rockin' the Suburbs.

The track "Steven's Last Night in Town" was written about Ben Folds' friend Stephen Short, a Grammy-Award-winning record producer and manager.[13]

An early mix of "Song for the Dumped" appeared on the soundtrack album for the movie "Mr. Wrong", but the song did not actually appear in the movie. The soundtrack was released on February 6, 1996, a full year before the release of "Whatever and Ever Amen".[14]

Hidden tracks[edit]

The first pressing of Whatever and Ever Amen features a clip of an actual argument in the studio between Folds, Sledge and Jessee, inserted between "Brick" and "Song For the Dumped". Speaking to The Shrubbery in 1999, Folds said that the clip "was a painfully documented real argument that kept bringing up bad feelings. We decided to get rid of it and let the first pressings be collectors ... Better to keep the band together. It was ugly."[15]

The first pressing featured another hidden track, on the album's last track, "Evaporated", and in the negative space of track 1 on the Digitally Remastered version. The clip is at a live concert, where band roadie Leo Overtoom yells out, "I've got your hidden track right here: Ben Folds is a fuckin' asshole!"[16] A short video clip of this is featured in the video "A Video Portrait" released alongside the album.


Nick Hornby writes one of his essays in the book 31 Songs about "Smoke".

Track listing[edit]

Original release
1."One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces"Ben Folds3:52
3."Brick"Folds, Darren Jessee4:43
4."Song for the Dumped"Folds, Jessee3:41
5."Selfless, Cold, and Composed"Folds6:10
6."Kate"Folds, Jessee, Anna Goodman3:14
7."Smoke"Folds, Goodman4:52
9."Steven's Last Night in Town"Folds3:27
10."Battle of Who Could Care Less"Folds3:16
11."Missing the War"Folds4:19
Bonus tracks on remastered version
13."Video Killed the Radio Star"Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Bruce Woolley3:40
14."For All the Pretty People"Robert Sledge3:21
15."Mitchell Lane"Folds, Jessee3:40
16."Theme from "Dr. Pyser"" (Brendan O'Brien Studio version)Folds4:28
17."Air"Folds, Jessee, Sledge3:20
18."She Don't Use Jelly" (Lounge-A-Palooza version)Wayne Coyne4:11
19."Song for the Dumped (Japanese version) (金返せ, Kane Kaese, literally 'Give me back my money')"Folds, Jessee5:03


The band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[17] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[18] Gold 50,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[19] Platinum 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone



  1. ^ Owens, Thom. "Whatever and Ever Amen – Ben Folds Five". AllMusic. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  2. ^ Caro, Mark (March 21, 1997). "Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen (Epic)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ Willman, Chris (March 28, 1997). "Whatever and Ever Amen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  5. ^ Nichols, Natalie (March 16, 1997). "Ben Folds Five, 'Whatever and Ever Amen,' Sony 550 Music". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  6. ^ Moody, Paul (March 1, 1997). "Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (March 22, 2005). "Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen". Q (169): 141. October 2000.
  9. ^ Moon, Tom (March 17, 1997). "Ben Folds: Whatever and Ever Amen". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 24, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  10. ^ Rotter, Jeffrey (May 1997). "Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen". Spin. 13 (2): 110. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  11. ^ michaelbluejay.com: "Sheffield Electronic Press, Nov 1996.
  12. ^ Kit Aitken. "Interview with Ben Folds (December 1997)". Rock's Backpages.(Subscription required.)
  13. ^ Nuvo article: "Review: Ben Folds with the ISO Archived February 22, 2013, at Archive.today."
  14. ^ "Various - Mr. Wrong (Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Discogs. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  15. ^ The Shrubbery: "The Big, Exciting Interview with Ben Folds.
  16. ^ Magical Armchair: May 1998.
  17. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  18. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen". Music Canada. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  19. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > June 1997 > Certified Awards (April 1997)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 18, 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  21. ^ "australian-charts.com Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  22. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 66, No. 26" (PHP). RPM. March 23, 1998. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  23. ^ "ベン・フォールズ・ファイヴ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  24. ^ "Chart Stats - Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original (PHP) on July 31, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  25. ^ "allmusic ((( Whatever and Ever Amen > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  26. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 100 Albums 1998". aria.com.au. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  28. ^ "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1998". billboard.biz. Retrieved February 19, 2012.