It was another humid and disgustingly hot Queensland summer day. I was at work. Sweat, beading down my face. Five-deep at the bar, smashing out lemon-lime-bitters in the usual Sunday lemon-lime-bitters suicide championship stakes. As my mood steadily decreased from my usual neutral level of pessimism and negativity, to borderline murderous tendencies as I put together drinks containing the same three ingredients over and over again, something clicked.
It was something I’d never felt before. Kind of similar to the pain I feel when I pay my car registration in this state, but not like a dull jabbing ass pain this time. It was a dull jabbing, yet steadily increasing pain in my ears. Some kind of aural assault. As I made some eight year old wait for his grey-area small-alcohol-percentage-containing LLB, I stopped. The pain continued to increase and suddenly it hit me. I gazed at the video monitor.
Ben Lee’s “genius” is brought to the world, not through cold, hard 1940’s war technology bombing your house, but by modern audio equipment and wankers in shitty econoboxes cranking his awfully crafted works worldwide.
Oh yay, he’s yet another asshole with an acoustic guitar and a record label, that’s wonderful. His only tick from me is not being one of the artists that those companies grab off the supermarket shelf, rip open, chuck in a mixing bowl with two eggs, butter and some milk, before spewing out millions of awful CDs to cash in on commercial-radio-listening sap dollars. But when I say that’s the only tick, that is literally the only tick.
Let’s talk lyric analysis, on an excerpt of one of his most popular songs, “Catch My Disease”:
While this is better than Pink’s “Woof woof, woof woof, woof woof”, it’s not by much.
I don’t really understand what he is accomplishing with this song. What disease is it that I am meant to be catching? You were backstage at Pomona and then a mysterious woman was drinking Coke (nice product name drop by the way – hope they sent you a pallet), who’s apparently from Santa Ana, who apparently loves him like she loves fireworks.
Dear god, what are you talking about and what the hell does any of this have to do with catching your disease?!?!?
I can understand non-sensical lyrics – I listen to metal. But metal songs aren’t trying to be anything other than metal songs. They don’t have a point other than being angry, heavy or whatever. The problem is that Ben Lee tries to come off as a serious musician, but writes rubbish like this and makes self-indulgent music videos to that end (seriously, just watch how smug he appears).
If Ben Lee was any more smug about himself and his “serious, heartfelt song lyrics”, there’d be a smug cloud over whatever country he’s in.
“Oh but his songs are catchy!”, you might be saying. Maybe that’s what he is talking about. Maybe the disease I am meant to catch is one of mediocre indie-turned-mainstream, one-man acoustic, nonsensical tastes in music like Ben Lee himself may have. I bet he likes Sex On Fire by Kings of Leon too.
Today friends, I ask of you, that if you aspire to become a singer or songwriter, please don’t turn into someone spewing out a constant stream of nonsensical, meaningless, upbeat songs. Because I’m likely to want to punch you really hard in the face. Repeatedly.