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.
The entire album was recorded in a two-bedroom house Ben Folds rented in Chapel Hill. Due to this fact, the album has several lo-fi occurrences. A phone ring can be heard at approximately 2:56 in "Steven's Last Night in Town"; Ben Folds has said the ring was a friend calling from Minnesota, but it came at such a perfect timing, the band decided to leave it in the song. Robert can be heard laughing slightly after it rings as well. Crickets can also be heard in the background of "Cigarette."
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.
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.
Near the end of the Nerdist podcast #132, Ben 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.
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 6th 1996, a full year before the release of "Whatever and Ever Amen".
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."
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!" A short video clip of this is featured in the video "A Video Portrait" released alongside the album.