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The how and why of leaking your own album, in two forms: Ben Folds Five and Wiley
November 7, 2011 12:01 PM   Subscribe

In July 2008, there was a suspicious leak of new Ben Folds Five material, two months in advance of the (then) forthcoming album, Way to Normal. One month later, Ben Folds confessed that he and his touring band made the 6 fake songs in 8 hours (plus three tunes actually from the album), and he compared the fake tracks to the real album. Two years later, Wiley tweeted that he sacked his manager, and in a form of retaliation, shared 11 seemingly random collections of tracks in various forms of completion.

Fans then tagged the tracks and re-upped the lot. If 203 tracks seems like a lot, Hyper Frank was kind enough as to review them all and describe what you're in for.

Wiley shared his thoughts on BANG FM (audio on YT), and was interviewed by The Guardian for a bit more insight.
posted by filthy light thief (51 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The idea of a "fake song" is blowing my mind, man.
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


we often listen to the fake way to normal. we go back an forth about whether we think "bitch went nuts" is an authentic first person song, or if it's like "rocking the suburbs" where he's making fun of a certain kind of guy.

also, like "hacking" i feel like "leaks" has moved off its primary definition. if you release your own songs, you've released them, even if you release them onto torrent sites. if someone unauthorized but close enough to the material distributes them, then it's leaked.
posted by nadawi at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2011


Fake Songs! [Amazon]

Also: I kinda liked the 'fake' Folds songs more than the real Way To Normal tracks. YMMV.
posted by mintcake! at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The idea of a "fake song" is blowing my mind, man.

If such a thing exists then that last Gorillaz album is pretty much made entirely of them.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2011


If I knew how "Wiley" related to "Ben Folds", I might understand this more. I guess I could just click the links.....
posted by Bovine Love at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


It's not Ben Folds Five, though, right? It's just Ben Folds?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, he made the songs, and they are songs, so how could the be fake songs?
posted by Bovine Love at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bovine Love: the relation is in what they did, not who they are. Both artists leaked their albums.

And they're "fake" in as much as they were masquerading as tracks from an official album, much like Madonna's P2P bombing, except more creative and fun.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2011


Yes, it's just Ben Folds, no Five. The songs were fake to the extent that they had the same titles as the released track list for the forthcoming album, but were completely different songs.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2011


It's not Ben Folds Five, though, right? It's just Ben Folds?

Five what? I must know what five things Ben has folded.
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bah, you're right, ThePinkSuperhero, it's just Ben Folds, no Five involved. Tags updated accordingly.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2011


Remember when Fiona Apple's unfinished Extraordinary Machine was going around and then there was an official release and it just wasnt as good?

This is sorta like that.

Also, Folds needs to get over himself and get the BF5 back together. His solo work is very good but it lacks fuzzbass and is therefore inferior, as are most things which lack fuzzbass (cantaloupes, for example)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:18 PM on November 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


Ben has lost me a bit over the past few years, though I anxiously await news about the maybe-forthcoming full BF5 record. Mainly I liked the idea that he leaked a whole album. I like albums, fake or not.
posted by mintcake! at 12:19 PM on November 7, 2011


Furthermore, the best fake leak of all time is still that Guster record where they replaced all the vocals with the band members meowing the words.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:19 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Folds needs to get over himself and get the BF5 back together.

He is.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:21 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Deer Tick released a fake thing recently as well...
posted by ph00dz at 12:24 PM on November 7, 2011


Senor Cardgage: Furthermore, the best fake leak of all time is still that Guster record where they replaced all the vocals with the band members meowing the words.

From Wikipedia:
According to the band, the meows were sung by Guster's monitor engineer at the time, Matt Peskie. The tracks were then released to Kazaa, in an effort to deter downloading of legitimate tracks.
Fantastic.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This should become a thing. Every performer or band can start leaking fake records with off-the-cuff glossolalia and drunken jams - and then eventually they'll actually be a scene of bands that are inspired by the fake records, and they'll put out real records that sound like the 'fake records'.

Of course, this ends with the new 'fake records' bands having to put out their own intentional leak recordings, which are actually melodic pop chartbuster-sounding tunes with great riffs and intelligent lyrics.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


And then the inevitable mockumentary on fake tribute bands to real tribute bands doing covers of real songs based on fake songs.
posted by Zed at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is rather like the story of Picasso pointing at one of his own paintings and calling it a fake, getting called on it and declaring he fakes stuff all the time.
posted by Artw at 12:30 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm reminded of the last Stone Roses album, where the secret track at the end of them goofing off with a screechy violin was the only song I liked.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


y'all are straight up crazy. i <3 solo ben folds. i like the five as well, but i think he's doing just fine on his own.
posted by nadawi at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


And then the inevitable mockumentary on fake tribute bands to real tribute bands doing covers of real songs based on fake songs.

And on the fan side, then the poseurs become hipsters, but the old hipsters were often just poseurs to begin with, so to make a statement, they go all post-irony and get "Victor Victoria" about it as poseurs acting as hipsters pretending to be poseurs...

Shit. I'm gonna need a flowchart here people.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, that Stone Roses track has a name. it is The Fozz.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:36 PM on November 7, 2011


*Foz
posted by stinkycheese at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2011


This is the only thing he's done since 'underground' that's caught my attention. What fun! Fake Ben Folds is better than real Ben Folds!
posted by shushufindi at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2011


Folds is a prolific song writer, so "fakes" would probably be pretty easy for him. I've seen him more than once in concert where he just made up stuff to the days headlines and such. IIRC, the song "Cigarette" came from a newspaper article as well.

I'd forgotten about Guster meowing. That was fantastic.
posted by maryr at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2011


Ben talked a bit about his "fake" songs when he was on the Nerdist Podcast
posted by the_artificer at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2011


Senor Cardgage: "Remember when Fiona Apple's unfinished Extraordinary Machine was going around and then there was an official release and it just wasnt as good?"

Ha. This reminds me of the proliferation of fake Justice tracks (some of which were quite good) that have been circulating ever since the release of their first album 4 years ago, all purportedly from an upcoming second album.

Then, Justice actually did release a second album, and it sounded nothing like their first, leading many to prefer the fake tracks over the real album.
posted by schmod at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2011


I would think that "decoy" would be a better term for it than "fake".
posted by XMLicious at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is your favorite musician still your favorite musician if he releases a retrospective compilation and you find out tangentially a month later? Probably not.

RIP 'Ben Folds, Kwine's favorite musician', 1997-2011.

I'll be holding 'favorite musician' auditions to fill the vacant position. Watch this space for details.
posted by Kwine at 12:59 PM on November 7, 2011


Specifically, the band's site previously stated that the album would be titled "Systema Encéphale" and contain the tracks "Malfeasance", "U.V.R.", "Numbereft", "Encephatalis", "Musick", "Coeliacus", "Pain Canal", "Lactation", "Smyrma", and "Riverchrist".
posted by mkb at 1:00 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've always wanted to like Ben Folds (and his Five), but I just can't. There's just something about his music. He's the Billy Joel of our generation.
posted by slogger at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slogger, I like Billy Joel better. Even today's terrible things don't have the soul, vibrancy and innovative spirit of those of yesteryear. Billy Joel is cheese. Ben Folds is Cheez Whiz.
posted by shushufindi at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2011


This is very cool, but count me among the disappointed that it's not, in fact, leaks of previously unreleased BF5 material. Solo Ben is fine and dandy, but I remain absolutely crushed about BF5 not being together. After two fantastic (but pretty similar) albums, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner suggested that BF5 was moving in an incredibly interesting direction, and them breaking up on the heels of that release pretty much sounded the death knell on me ever caring about any band that much ever again.

I'm thrilled that they're considering a reunion, but I'm skeptical that they'll be able to recapture the magic. I hold out hope that somewhere, unheard tracks from that era of the band exist.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2011


Two years later, Wiley tweeted that he sacked his manager,

I think the confusing bit is that you kind of think this sentence is somehow still talking about Ben Folds, and it's hard to get back on the rails after that and realize that, no, the Ben Folds part of the post is over.
posted by smackfu at 2:02 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Until recently I thought that For the Longest Time had been written by a doo-wap group sometime in the early 60's. I still can't believe it was written by a hack like Billy Joel in 1984. Just listen to it (just listen -- that video is horrifying). It's a genuinely mature love song in gorgeous polyphony.

It's hard for me to imagine someone similarly hating Ben Folds but loving one song of his.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:14 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also Dave Matthews Band's "Lillywhite Sessions," their abandoned effort to record an album with Steve Lillywhite in 1999–2000, which leaked in 2001 shortly after the release of the album that they released instead, Everyday. The two were very, very different (the wretched Glen Ballard produced Everyday) and critics generally preferred the unreleased album to the released album.
posted by waldo at 2:16 PM on November 7, 2011


I don't know why the concept of fake songs is so difficult. I think those are about half of Ryan Adams' output to date. *bolts*
posted by zomg at 2:17 PM on November 7, 2011


I don't know why the concept of fake songs is so difficult.

Some of my comments are fake comments. Snark for snark's sake, contributing little, careless one-liners that just trail off...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:29 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


half of Ryan Adams' output

i was just about to disagree with that because one of my favorite alt-country songs (heck, one of my favorite all country songs), matrimony, is by whiskeytown, but i just looked it up and ryan adams doesn't have a writing credit on it.

but, without ryan adams, there's no crash on the barrelhead

also, i really do hope that ryan adams and mandy moore write a blue eyed soul or alt country record with her taking the lead vocals and him doing the writing and harmonies.
posted by nadawi at 2:34 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The idea of a "fake song" is blowing my mind, man.

If you do jazz improv, perhaps it's from your fake book.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2011


Van Morrison's Bang Contract-Breaking Album might be considered to be fake songs.
posted by Grangousier at 3:28 PM on November 7, 2011


The idea of a "fake song" is blowing my mind, man.

If you do jazz improv, perhaps it's from your fake book.


Fakebook.
posted by chavenet at 4:01 PM on November 7, 2011


Not only did Billy Joel wrote "For The Longest Time", he sings all the parts too. I remember when I first found this out, it was like real-life alchemy or something. It seemed so incredible, almost unbelievable.

The video does suck though.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:52 PM on November 7, 2011


Not only did Billy Joel wrote "For The Longest Time", but he doesn't afraid of anything.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:09 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't think "Fake"; think "Unfettered by the need to be marketable." As anyone who's listened to my fifteen-minutes-to-make stuff on MeFiMusic, it is a lot more fun to make music quickly that tickles some random aspect of your psyche than it is to spend weeks grooming a song for release/marketability. Most musicians do it all the time, because that's what music is about; fun and joy and inspiration. When famous people do it, though, people notice, is all.
posted by davejay at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


mind you, it is a lot more fun for the people making the music, is what I meant; the audience may not like it, or may even hate it, but sometimes it is nice to make music for yourself, presumably even if you're famous.
posted by davejay at 8:22 AM on November 8, 2011


When famous people do it, though, people notice, is all.

Nobody seems to notice when I do it, notwithstanding my world fame.
posted by The World Famous at 9:02 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I expect links to your qualifying material forthwith!
posted by davejay at 3:20 PM on November 8, 2011


The material that qualifies me as World Famous, or my fifteen-minutes-to-make stuff on MeFiMusic?
posted by The World Famous at 3:33 PM on November 8, 2011


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