A 1999 album by Ben Folds Five, and one of the greatest albums ever made. A pseudo-concept album, it rocks nevertheless, unlike their previous four which relied on piano pounding and zany lyrics. Be sure to recognize the tips of the hat (Flugelhorn!) to Burt Bacharach--to which Ben himself admitted readily. Highlights of the album include "Mess" and "Magic" and low points include the horribly short run-length.

Pick up the japanese import version which adds two rarities: "Theme from Doctor Pyser" (also on the Aussie pressing) and "Birds" (although some pressings only have the latter).

Aw hell. Get the album from wherever you want. It's well worth it. And if you get it on vinyl (as it was released, as well as CD and cassette), then you probably won't worry about it being not so long.

The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner by Ben Folds Five


  1. Narcolepsy
  2. Don't Change Your Plans
  3. Mess
  4. Magic
  5. Hospital Song
  6. Army
  7. Your Redneck Past
  8. Your Most Valuable Possession
  9. Regrets
  10. Jane
  11. Lullabye

The album starts off with a storming introduction in the form of Narcolepsy. The whole album is fantastic, and each song is a masterpiece. Army is a big highlight, superb opening lyrics:

"Well I thought about the Army / Dad said 'son you're fucking high!'"

Magic has the lyrics "sha-la lie-lie / la lie lie-lie" which doesn't look very exciting I agree, but that, plus other things, makes it remind me (in a good way) of The Last Polka from their debut album. My friends dissagree though so you might want to ignore me. Redneck Past, which rivals the immortal Underground in energy and lyrical excitement, is another big track from the album.

Who is Reinhold Messner?

A famous mountaineer.

What does he have to do with this album?

Absolutely nothing! Reinhold Messner was the name Darren Jessee, and others in his high school, used on fake IDs. Supposedly, there were many kids using these IDs. This is where the lines "and then i ended up in jail/(refrain)/...but just for a day/seems the police had made a computer mistake/said there must be thousands like me with the/same name" in the song Regrets comes from, I think. Nothing but a coincidece, although the band admits they could have heard the mountaineer's name before and it stuck on a subliminal level.

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