Do it Anyway

Album: The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • The first single from Ben Folds Five's fourth album, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind came from two places. Ben Folds explained to FMQB that the first source was his mother, who used to give him "birthday cards, with quotes which were attributed to Mother Theresa. For example, 'You may be honest in your life, that honesty may upset some people, be honest anyway. You might find yourself very successful. Things that are gonna upset other people and incite jealousy cause you problems, heartache…be successful anyway.' So that was back there in my psyche somewhere."

    The second inspiration was a show Folds played at the Wiltern in Los Angeles when he said to the audience in reference to a ballad he was about to play, "This is not the kind of song I could stand on the piano and, you know, shake my ass to." Someone in the crowd screamed back, "Do it anyway!" Folds took his advice and made "up the bulk of what you hear in the song, at least musically, and some of the lyrics." When he got the board tape, he played it for friends, who loved it.

    Folds then, "adapted it a little bit to fit the Mother Theresa thing." He said: "Also I was aspiring to a lot of honesty in this record with the intention of saying things that aren't comfortable and sort of stripping the ego, taking yourself out of being the dude in control. 'Do It Anyway' is kind of like that too. There're a lot of angles of loss of control in it, but that gives you control. It's beyond my ability to actually articulate it, philosophers have had a hard time with it too and they're smarter than I am."
  • The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind was the band's first album since 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. They disbanded in October 2000, apparently under amicable circumstances, after which Folds dropped the Five from the name and continued making his own records.
  • The song's music video finds the Ben Folds Five teaming up with the puppets of Jim Henson Company's Fraggle Rock. Comedian Rob Corddry plays the role of the sound engineer in the clip, whilst Twilight actress Anna Kendrick is also featured. Co-producer Chris Hardwick said of working on the video: "If you walk in and you see Ben Folds and you see Fraggles dancing around, and your day isn't exponentially happier, you are dead inside."

    Another video appearance on Anna Kendrick's resume is LCE Soundsystem's clip for "Pow Pow."

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