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Verse Chorus Verse: Ben Folds – “Landed”

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I'm fascinated by the little things.  I'm not plagued by the burden of genius and it's not that I'm a gifted observer of nuance but rather that I'm often easily amused.  Little things.  That's usually what I fixate on.  That's how I pass the time.

There are countless songs I love because I love everything about them and have listened to them exhaustively, but there are also hordes of songs I like because of one tiny, barely perceptible flourish.  There's a four-second clip of the bass line to Nirvana's "Lithium" that has enthralled me since I first heard it in 1991.  There is a drum fill in a Joe Satriani song I find as interesting as anything the guitarist plays in it.  There are even songs I don't really like all that much save for that one tiny little detail that grips me.

"Landed," from Ben Folds' Songs for Silverman, is a good song and one I'd enjoy listening to and singing along to (badly) without the 10-second transitional bridge near the end, but it is those 10 seconds (approximately) that makes this pleasant song an obsession.

After two verses and choruses, Folds changes keys, drops from his upper register and falsetto voice, and introduces a subdued, jazzy interlude that gives the song a moment to breathe before the big finish.  That short breath nearly stole mine the first time I listened to it.  At first, I thought it was just because I was surprised to hear it.  Nearly five years and who knows how many listens later, I know it's coming and I still get impatient for it.  It's lost none of its potency in my ears, continuing to fascinate and hypnotize me.

Simple-minded or simple pleasures?  You decide.  Maybe a bit of both.  Either way, there are more than devils in details.  Thank God for the little things.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/scott_deitche Scott D.

    “Landed” is the best songs of the 2000’s so far IMO. A perfect piece of piano pop. Folds’ vocals are point-on, the hook is unforgettable, and the intro- sparse but effective.

  • Josh Hathaway

    Thanks, Scott. I fall into a trance every time I hear this song.