Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bee Lee Ben Len

I should like Ben Lee.
After all, we have a number of similarities; thinking dudes trying to make it in a boys world, slightly nerdish appearance but not without some charm, worried about that environment thing, etc.

Despite these things I find it very hard to like him. My first intro to young Mr Lee was through the movie The rage at Placid Lake, which I really liked. I didn't know he was a muso until much later.

I was all set to like him, and may have until 'Catch my Disease'. It was popular here, it broke him in the US and was an incredibly strong marketing move, but he just wasn't a cool person to like. That song never sat right with the person I thought he was.

I heard his new song 'I like Pop Music' and it's all starting to make sense. I think the dude has dumbed his music right down to appeal to the masses so he can talk them out of being retards. This as a move is pretty freakin' smart, he gets the mega wads of cash and might be helping out a planet or similar, but I found myself liking him even less.

I can't really pinpoint why I don't. On some level I admire aiming his music at the masses to communicate thereto, even if it then excludes me. I also admire his putting some strong words in his songs. I think it was smart to tie in those strong words with a fluffy, fluffy chorus so that it does appeal to so many dudes and chicks. I should admire that he could even be trying to trick people into hearing such words, and I tire with songs that just have lyrics that are just words tied together. I totally think it's smart to try and appeal to the wider mainstream market rather than just being a musos muso.

Maybe it's a tall poppy thing, maybe I find the fluffiness too fluffy, maybe he's a bit too smug or thinkery, maybe even too nerdy, but I'd like to like him, I just can't. I should like him, but don't. I feel a bit bad about that, the dude is trying after all.


At 6:51 PM, Blogger Enny said...

I really Really REALLY like 'sleepwalk' 'cigarettes will kill you' and 'gamble everything for love' but I hate Hate HATE 'catch my disease'. I'm so torn...!

At 9:56 PM, Blogger RAT said...

I think he's a little bit creepy.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger meva said...

I think he's trying. (Which is pretty damning.) If you have to try, you just don't get it. He really wants to get it and he wants to be seen to be getting it; but he's just trying.

Am I right, or am I right?

Or just rambling?

At 10:34 PM, Blogger kiki said...

i hated Noise Addict so much. So i've never liked him. Not since he was a young teen

At 6:13 AM, Blogger I'm not Craig said...

Like all people with taste, I hate "Catch My Disease". However, I am a massive Ben Lee fan because most of his other stuff, particularly "Gamble Everything" and "Into the Dark" is good. Also the dude is just funny. I don't know of anyone else who would describe their own songwriting technique as "stealing other people's ideas and making them sad".

In the same interview, which was a year or two before "Awake is the New Sleep" went big everywhere, Ben was asked whether, since everyone seemed to want to write songs with him, he had ever thought about writing a purely commercial pop song for someone like Britney or Xtina and making a huge amount of money.

HIs answer was that he always tried to write popular songs and to reach as wide an audience as possible, it was just that his idea of a pop song was so left of centre that the songs never caught on.

So, has he dumbed down his writing, or did he just get better at achieving his goals, or has the public's taste in music improved over teh past few years?

Only you can decide.


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