My Top 1000 Songs #564: Not The Same

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Ben Folds' first post-Ben Folds Five solo LP, 2001's Rockin' The Suburbs, is packed full of some of his career-high tracks. But for some reason, it's the deeper-cut "Not The Same" that made the most enduring impression on me. On the surface, it's a fairly specific narrative about a friend who dropped acid at a party, climbed a tree, and found Jesus; but the broader themes of cultish idolatry feel bigger, given added heft by some boomy production, the title line delivered with a spine-tingling reverbed chorale. Like much of the album, it's wonderfully catchy--that whole "you see them drop like flies from the bright sunny skies" bit in the chorus is endlessly hummable, an earworm that still bounces around my head at random times--but the song is set apart by the sense it's capturing something just a little weightier than some of Folds' more obvious hits.

2005 solo performance: