According to J, who I asked to upload this track to our host for me because I couldn’t be bothered searching through my terrifyingly-badly organized back catalogue of hot singles and other weird paraphernalia (including mp3s of Simpsons quotes and police sirens – long story) from the 90s, this song was one of the biggest songs of that decade (the decade I went to primary school and missed out on everything hip and cool bar what the local ‘hit music station’ told me was hip and cool but which really, in retrospect, wasn’t). Also, where I had some inkling that the track was about cancer, apparently it’s about an abortion and I’m an idiot for not knowing that and how could you not know that. All this further according to J. Needless to say, having got my head around the context and concept of the song, I now feel far more confident in making the following evaluation of it.
This is really one of the best songs (about abortion) of the 90s. As these things tend to happen to me (as all ye faithful readers would undoubtedly know by now), this epiphany came to me somewhere between the last red light camera before uni and my bus lane parking spot (free after 10am!) Strangely, the track played a huge part in my early personal listening device history given that it featured prominently on the first Mini Disc I ever made. Mini Discs, like Ben Folds, were heavily underrated. I say strangely because, even given the aforementioned subject matter of the song, I really felt as though I could relate to the track. I think that shows the mark of a real artist. Being able to move a teenage boy to some sort of pseudo-emotional state when your song has to do with something that said teenage boy probably doesn’t even understand. Just like Susan Boyle connected with dumpy, ugly, overweight Brits the world over, Ben Folds’ abortion tale really struck a chord with me. Y’know.
I’m yet to really decide where I stand on the Ben Folds Five. I feel like the four deserters are morons for having left Benny in his prime and missing the excellence of ‘Rockin The Suburbs’ and ‘Time’ and ‘Jesusland’. On the other hand they gave us and and this track that had me falsettoing ‘She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly!’ to all and sundry at a particularly peculiar pedestrian crossing. What lends the track even greater excellence is the fact that, having seen Folds perform it live at the Opera House, you know it’s all real. No computers, no autotune, no pitch correction. Just raw brilliance.
Ben Folds Five – Brick