“Bruised” by The Bens (2006)

“Bruised” punches me right in the feels every time I hear it. Ben Folds drops the smart-ass guise for four minutes and delivers a relatively straightforward heartbreak song that could’ve easily been a hit for Billy Joel in the ‘80s. You gotta figure our man Ben probably knows more about busted relationships than the average person-dude’s been married four times and counting. The lyrics of the song suggest that Ben is just waiting for things to fall down again: “who will make the first last mistake” goes one particularly sad line.

For “Bruised”, Folds was joined by fellow Bens Lee and Kweller as part of a briefly active singer-songwriter supergroup they cleverly called The Bens. The presence of Kweller and Lee is fairly inconspicuous-you only notice there are other people on the song besides Folds when sing-along “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” harmonies arrive towards the end. Ultimately, this song belongs to Ben Folds-his piano playing and puppy-dog-who’s-been-kicked-in-the-nads vocals make this one as good as it is.

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