Ben Folds New Single & Video ‘Exhausting Lover’

Ben Folds will release his new album What Matters Most on June 2 via New West Records. The 10-song set was co-produced by Folds and Joe Pisapia (K.D. Lang, Guster) in East Nashville, TN and features guest appearances by dodie, Tall Heights, and Ruby Amanfu. What Matters Most is Folds’ first studio album since his chart-topping collaboration in 2015 with the string ensemble yMusic.

The masterful collection is a bold, timely, cinematic work. It is one that examines the tragic and the absurd in equal measures as it reckons with hope and despair, gratitude and loss, identity and perspective. The songs are bittersweet, hilarious at times, yet often laced with a quiet sense of longing and dread. Taken as a whole, the result is an undeniably joyful album that refuses to succumb to the weight of the world around it, an ecstatic reminder of all the beauty and promise hiding in plain sight for anyone willing (and present enough) to recognize their moments as they arrive.

Folds says, “There’s a lifetime of craft and experience all focused into this one record. Sonically, lyrically, emotionally, I don’t think it’s an album I could have made at any other point in my career.”

Folds shared the video for the single Exhausting Lover, which was directed by the actor and comedian, Derek Waters of Drunk History fame. The video depicts an outrageous staged musical directed by Folds and based on the song’s lyrics. Derek Waters said, “I always have and always will love Ben Folds. But now I have a deeper appreciation for him knowing we shared similar experiences in a motel 6 with a hot wheels track and dancers dressed as animals.” Folds’ added, “This was my first foray into musical theatre, and Derek’s, too. We both vow to actually go see a musical now.”

“I come from the vinyl era, and this perhaps more than any record I’ve made is a true album,” says Folds. “There’s a very specific sequence and arc to each side, all building up to this almost surreal positive finale, and that structure was really important to me.” He adds, “More than anything, I wanted to make an album that was generous, that was useful,” says Folds. “I want you to finish this record with something you didn’t have when you started.”

“It can be difficult jumping back and forth from one discipline to another,” says Folds, “but you learn so much from moving between worlds and collaborating with so many different kinds of artists. I performed some of the songs on this record with the National Symphony Orchestra before I finished recording them for the album, and that context gave me so much insight into how I wanted to handle them in the studio.”

Ben Folds’ What Matters Most will be available across digital platforms, compact disc, and standard black vinyl. A very limited to 200 Metallic Gold Color Vinyl Edition autographed by Folds and featuring a flexi disc with an exclusive bonus track (a cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ The Ghost in You) will be available via Rough Trade. A limited Seaglass Blue color vinyl edition autographed by Folds will be available at independent retailers and is also available for pre-order NOW via NEW WEST RECORDS.

What Matters Most Track listing:

  1. But Wait, There’s More
  2. Clouds With Ellipses (feat. dodie)
  3. Exhausting Lover
  4. Fragile
  5. Kristine From The 7th Grade
  6. Back To Anonymous
  7. Winslow Gardens
  8. Paddleboat
  9. What Matters Most
  10. Moments (feat. Tall Heights)
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