With The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective, a career-spanning anthology of the music of Ben Folds arriving Oct. 11, Legacy Recordings is proud to announce the release of "House," the first new studio track from Ben Folds Five in more than 11 years, now streaming on nbc.com.
Ben is returning to NBC's "The Sing-Off" this fall as a celebrity judge.
"House," the first single from The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective, is one of three new Ben Folds Five tracks recorded in 2011 especially for this collection, marking the trio's first official studio recordings of original material since 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (Ben Folds Five reunited for a one-off live performance of the album in 2008). The other new BFF tracks -- "Tell Me What I Did" and "Stumblin' Home Winter Blues" -- are available on the three-disc retrospective.
For the cover of his first major career-spanning retrospective, Ben Folds commissioned a new work of art from Opie Otterstad. Renowned for his iconic high-energy sports paintings (and a distinctive brushless palette-knife technique), Opie has been a lifelong fan of Ben's music, attracted to the passion and intensity of Ben's sound, attitude and aesthetic. In making the cover, Opie literally "deconstructed" an old dilapidated piano he found on Craig's List, ripping out the strings and hammers and keys to use as physical, emotional, psychological and compositional elements in his 36" x 24" portrait of Ben.
"I wanted it to tell a story," says Opie, who uses the terms "calm" and "violent" when discussing art and Ben's music. The most comprehensive and definitive Ben Folds collection ever assembled, and first-ever domestic overview of Folds' music, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective is remastered from original master tapes, bringing together Ben's biggest hits, deep catalog fan favorites, hidden treasures, and collectible rarities.
Available as a single disc or in an expanded three disc set, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective features liner notes and track-by-track song annotations by Ben Folds. Fans purchasing the three-disc expanded edition of The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective will be given an individual code redeemable for the "Free Folds Five" EP from the Ben Folds '55' Vault [55 ultra-rarities available for purchase exclusively on the site—territory restrictions apply*... *Ben Folds 55 Vault only available in the following territories: Australia (AU), Austria (AT), Canada (CA), Germany (DE), Indonesia (ID), Ireland (IE), Italy (IT), Netherlands (NL), New Zealand (NZ), Singapore (SG), South Africa (ZA), South Korea (KR), Spain (ES), Sweden (SE), United Kingdom (GB), United States (US)].
"Free Folds Five" EP bonus tracks include:
Underground (Demo 1992)
Steven's Last Night In Town (Demo 1994)
Song For The Dumped (Demo 1994)
Narcolepsy (with Ben Folds Five) (Recorded live on 11/21/1999, Brussels, Belgium)
Dr. Yang (Recorded live on 11/23/2008, Leuven, Belgium)
"This is the album I will submit for the next Voyager to be launched into space," says Ben Folds in his liner notes for The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. "It's my best shot at an honest assessment of where I was in each period of my career. . . . In the end we tried to put together a collection of the unrepeatable, each recording hopefully representing a moment that was somehow otherwise beyond my ability."
A bonanza for dedicated Ben Folds aficionados, the expanded three disc version of The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective includes a 28-page booklet and two additional discs containing previously unreleased live and studio material, rare solo and BFF demos and studio outtakes, alternate mixes, scorching concert performances and the debut releases of "Tell Me What I Did" and "Stumblin' Home Winter Blues," a pair of brand new Ben Folds Five tracks, recorded in 2011.
Along with his first major career retrospective arriving in October, Ben Folds is reprising his role as celebrity judge on "The Sing-Off," (http://www.nbc.com/sing-off/about/benfolds.shtml ) the a cappella singing competition series returning for its third season as part of the NBC Fall line-up beginning Sept. 19 (8-10 p.m. ET). This fall Ben is also producing the upcoming EP from Sara Bareilles, who joins him as a judge on "The Sing-Off" panel this season.