366 Songs 331: Selfless, Cold and Composed

“Selfless, Cold and Composed” is full of meaning for me; it’s one of the first times that Ben Folds Five sailed boldly towards the jazzy horizon in both a good (Those drums!) and bad (That piano solo at 3:17, before the strings come in to give it some structure, albeit one that we’ve already heard in an earlier break!) way, for one thing, and it’s a song where the chorus and verse play off each other in a way that doesn’t necessarily fit together well, which… may be intentional (“It’s easy to be” is so 1970s MOR in terms of melody that it sticks out like a sore thumb, but that’s possibly the point, considering that the line mocks the behavior of the person in question)?

Really, though, it’s a song that reminds me of the aftermath of the relationship I was in when Whatever And Ever Amen, the album this track comes from, was released. I remember listening to this with that early-20s sense of “Yeah, why aren’t you clearly upset about me like you should be?” that you get when you’re heartbroken and hurt and confused and don’t understand that whole dumping thing properly. That ridiculously strong emotional sense memory comes on every time I hear the song, and each time that happens, I fight the urge to track down the ex-girlfriend in question and apologize to her for being an idiot. Because, really; I was an idiot, in those days, and especially about her.

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