Music

"Mister Peepers: The Ballad of Rod Rosenstein" - Ben Folds [Lyric Video]

Ben Folds drops a masterpiece political ballad about the Deputy Attorney General
Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published September 11, 2018

Ben Folds has a new song, "Mister Peepers: The Ballad of Rod Rosenstein" for the Washington Post Magazine's "Issue of Alternative Storytelling," which also features poems about Fracking's Toll and James Comey's book tour, The Betsy Devos Board Game, a Fill In Your Own Trump Speech, and more.  Listen to Folds' song above, courtesy of a lyric video from Rolling Stone.

Some might dismiss "Mister Peepers" as a political novelty song, but musically and lyrically it holds up as a crowning achievement.  Ben Folds' heartfelt vocals and soulful piano playing are on full display, surrounded by violin, light drumming (which sounds at times like tap dancing), muscular bass, and guitar and banjo are introduced toward the end, as the tune blossoms into a gorgeous folk ballad about the history of the Donald Trump and the right-wing Republicans' fight against Justice Department bureaucrats. 

At the time of this song being released, the FBI investigation led by Robert Mueller has already yielded over 100 criminal counts against 32 people and three companies resulting in 8 guilty pleas or convictions so far, according to the New York Times.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has become one of the faces of the investigation, and Ben Folds uses the name "Mister Peepers" for him, which was a TV character of the early '50s who was meek and wore glasses.  The Post had previously reported that Trump calls Rod Rosenstein "Mister Peepers" and Jeff Sessions "Mister Magoo" — which Trump denied and called "Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will" in a tweet.

The Post also shared a video of Ben Folds recording the song in a studio and describing his inspirations for the lyrics, which includes the House Intelligence Committee Republicans led by California and Ohio congressmen Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan, respectively, as the antagonists to the heroes under the watch of Rod Rosenstein.  Ben explains that Rosenstein feels "much more real and painful to me than the other stuff because of the personal position he’s been put in, and the position that we’re all in at these crossroads where we find ourselves deciding to stick up for our norms or not."

For more, check out Ben Folds' Zumic artist page.

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Ben Folds
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Folk Folk Rock Political Satire
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