Ben Folds
Language: English

Related Songs

Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)
(Ben Folds)

Lyrics & Music by Benjamin S. Folds
Album: The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

"Army" is an alternative rock song by the band Ben Folds Five from their 1999 album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and reached #28 on the charts in the UK.
Extremely popular among fans of the band and even after the band's break up, the song is still almost always performed at Ben Folds' solo concerts. The song deals with indecision, independence, conflict, and freedom, and contains many memorable moments, including the opening line ("Well, I thought about the army, Dad said: 'Son, you're fucking high!'") and the bridge, which consists of a horn ensemble.
Folds has explained at live performances that the entire song is based on personal experiences, with a few exceptions.. most notably that he never grew a mullet (haircut).
Here's Ben's explanation from a recording at Enmore:
"This one's about my really horrible experience trying to get through college at university. And I got a scholarship and then I lost a scholarship… after a semester cause I flunked a class because I flunked one test. The class was based on one test. The one I flunked. I flunked the test because I got delivered to the test in a police car at six o'clock in the morning with stitches in my nose and stitches in my mouth. And I was still drunk. And I had a broken hand, presumably because I had clocked that ass. I hit the wall.
So I threw my drum set, which is the instrument that I flunked on, into Lake Osceola in the middle University of Miami and I took a Greyhound bus, I don't shit you, it was a Greyhound bus back home and I worked with a bunch of old ladies in a grocery store for about 18 months. It was at that time that I decided in my bedroom I decided while listening to Elvis Costello in 1986 that maybe I shouldn't wait tables and do this old lady job anymore, maybe… I should join the Army.
And umm, for those of you who know the lyrics from the song I derived them, except for the rhyming part which I setup myself, I derived it from the way it actually went down
My father knocked on the door. I'll just be dad for a second: [Knock, Knock, Knock] – Benjamin, what are you doing in there? –
–Well, I was thinking about joining the army…–
– Son, you're fucking high! –
The clean version is sometimes referred to as the "We Got the 'Fuck' Out edit."
On the live album Ben Folds Live Folds introduces the song to the audience by saying: "This one goes out to anyone who actually signed up and is in - is gone into the armed forces. Thanks a lot. I tried, I went down to the recruiting center and I talked to them, and I thought about it, but at the end of the day, I think I was genetically inclined to be a musician." He then goes on to instruct the audience in singing the horn parts: "We've got enough people in here to get a bitchin' horn section, so let's cut the audience down the middle. This side, saxophones, this side's trumpets." Later live audiences were split into "bitch and whore sections" by Ben, an auditory spin off of the phrase "bitchin' horn section" heard on Ben Folds Live. The ensemble parts are often performed by the crowds during concerts in an audience participation bit which Folds "conducts". In addition, the audience customarily sings the line, "God, please spare me more rejection". Folds also frequently changes the last line from "the army" to "your mommy" or, on occasion, "all y'all's mommies.."
Well, I thought about the army
Dad said: – Son you're fucking high –
And I thought, yeah -there's a first for everything
So I took my old man's advice Three sad semesters
It was only fifteen grand spent in bed
I thought about the army
I dropped out and joined a band instead..

Grew a moustache and a mullet
Got a job at chic-fil-a
Citing artistic differences -The band broke up in May
And in June reformed without me
And they'd got a different name
I nuked another grandma's apple pie
And hung my head in shame.. Oh, no..

I've been thinking a lot today,
I've been thinking a lot today..

Oh, I think I'll write a screenplay
Oh, I think I'll take it to LA
Oh, I think I'll get it done yesterday..

In this time of introspection
On the eve of my election
I say to my reflection
God, please -spare me more rejection
'cause my peers, they criticize me
And my ex-wives all despise me
Try to put it all behind me
But my redneck past is nipping at my heels..

I've been thinking a lot today,
I've been thinking a lot today,
I've been thinking a lot today..
I thought about.. the army...

Contributed by giorgio - 2011/1/19 - 08:26

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by