David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 172: Ben Folds Five (Song For The Dumped)

August 8, 2022

Psychiatric Evaluation

Date of Exam: October 1, 1996

Patient Name: Ben Folds

Patient #: 1

History: Mr. Folds is a 30-year old single North Carolinian. He has been recommended for psychiatric review by 200 of his closest friends and family, people he characterizes as "200 solemn faces." The concerns expressed by these friends and family are about anger issues that may be affected by some cognitive issues. Their primary evidence to the latter: "he counts a threesome as five."

Current Symptoms, all based upon the interactions through "Song For The Dumped":

A scream of a count off to the beginning of the song, so unlike most band leaders rather quiet and understated delivery. 

An aggressive piano playing that borders on keyboard abuse.

A childish at best, offensive at worst, response to the request from his significant other upon an initial request to "have some space" -- "well, fuck you too."

A potentially unreasonable counter-demand in "give me my money back," let alone the continued reliance on insulting language, "you bitch."

A petty demand also in "and give me back my black t-shirt."

Emotional blackmail or at least manipulation by throwing back in his significant other's face, "I wish I hadn't bought you dinner before you dumped me on your front porch."

The characterization of an ended relationship as being "dumped."

The encouragement of one of his five/three, Robert Sledge, to sound like he is massacring a bass string as the song, and maybe Mr. Folds himself, starts to break down.

Problem Pertinent Review Of Symptoms:

Similar symptoms of anger issues found in "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," while over-the-top aggressive musicianship can be found all over "Stephen's Last Night In Town," "Kate," and "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," which also suggests a passive-aggressive response to his problems.

Mr. Folds tendency to suck others into his anger is most disturbing in his video for "Song For The Dumped" where they recruit a child to play with dolls and then destroy them in a mocking visual analogy to the words he writes.

Past Psychiatric History:

Aggressive musicianship: "Best Imitation of Myself."

Passive Aggressive Behavior": "And now it's time for this song to end" in "Philosophy."

Inability to accept others for who they are: "I know you make me sick" in "Sports and Wine."

Overall Review & Recommendations

While Mr. Folds does not appear to be a danger to others, his symptoms do lead do some diagnoses related to various anxieties. It is recommended that he perhaps accept himself as single and to not let others get too close. More self-reflection and less fixation on the suburbs, or how to be trusted, or bastards should be prescribed in heavy doses. 

Ideally some recognition for the talents that he has would be a likely natural improvement to his situation, but given the cutthroat and indifferent world of popular music that he inhabits, that is very unlikely. Supportive therapy from a solid group of true friends and admirers who can come to his concerts and purchase his music certainly can help.

If things don't improve, medication may need to be prescribed.

Electronically signed

By: Dr. David Fleming

On: August 8, 2022

Ben Folds Five. "Song For The Dumped." Whatever and Ever Amen. Epic, 1997. Link here.

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Day 173: The Swimming Pool Q's "Some New Highway"

See complete list here.