I’ve seen Ben Folds around six times in all kinds of different formats. It’s discouraging how he faded from the national view after Brick, because that’s not even one of the top 20 songs in his career.
I didn’t much care for this album (Way To Normal) despite it’s decent performance, but Cologne is a wonderful song (and the prelude, Before Cologne) to melt into.
Although verse two is lyrically awkward. The conceit of two people reading the same article continents apart is wonderful. But the particular story simply doesn’t fit the song at all, and the syllables have to jammed in, breaking the phrasing. It’s one part of the song that breaks you out.
If you want to see talent at work, watch one of the many videos of Ben Folds improvising/writing a new song live, usually with a symphony orchestra.