Expanding on the hook-laden songcraft of their eponymous debut, the Ben Folds Five turn in another glitzy array of Todd Rundgren-esque, piano-driven pop on their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen. Though it isn't as consistently tuneful and clever as their first record, Whatever and Ever Amen has a snazzy sense of popcraft -- the hooks of "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," "Brick," and "Fair" sink in nearly as effortlessly as Billy Joel, Elton John, or Joe Jackson -- which makes the record enjoyable ear candy. Occasionally, Folds' smug humor -- whether it's the alternative rock skewering of "The Battle" or the borderline misogynist humor of "Song for the Dumped" -- can undercut his melodic gifts, but Whatever and Ever Amen is confirmation that the showy pop pleasures of his first record were no fluke.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Owens