Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The K-Tizzle Sizzle - Ben Lee

You should be worried, Ben.

by Katie Langley

We’ve all got them - words that evoke “angry face”. You know, where you close your eyes, clench and grunt like you need more fiber in your diet.

Here, I’ll try one on you… Crocs… See, you did it, didn’t you? Angry face!

I’ll try some more… My Family Stickers… Kyle Sandilands… Nikki Webster… FUUUUU-!

Mine? Ben Lee. Wait, hear me out! I tried, I really tried...

When “Cigarettes Will Kill You” climbed the singles charts I couldn’t quite understand what all of the fuss was about – the whiny, drawn out voice, the video clip, the weird mouth movements. Huh? What?

Even so, I felt open minded as I waited for Ben to take the stage at a Livid Festival in the late 90’s. He was on early in the day, but a fairly decent crowd had formed. Spirits were high. I’m pretty sure there was even one of those giant inflatable balls bouncing around. Open heart, open mind, right? Wrong. Nek minute there was a mass exodus. The crowd thinned quicker than Moby’s hair. I still, to this day, have never seen a crowd evaporate like that. (Actually, wait, that’s a lie. The Vines, Big Day Out, 2003. Yikes).

What happened at Livid? Well, it all started to go pear shaped when Ben got tangled in his guitar lead. In an attempt to hide this obvious mistake, he started twisting and coiling even more, as though this is what he intended all along. It didn’t take long before he fell to the floor, writhing around and making what can only be described as whale noises. Yes, really. Dude, it’s not arty, just annoying.


I called upon my open heart open mind philosophy years later, when Ben released the album “Awake is the New Sleep”. The hit single “Catch My Disease” was fun, happy, upbeat… It would be easy to like, right? That’s what I thought as I entered the Arena for my second Ben Lee show. Wrong. Granted, it was much less Sea World (no whale noises), but as I stared up on to the stage I couldn’t help but feel irritated, again, by those weird mouth movements, and that kiddies keyboard which featured heavily on the album. Honestly, that thing was straight out of Toys 'R' Us.

For the second time in my life I found myself at a Ben Lee show asking myself “What the fuck are you doing here?”

You can’t accuse me of not trying. And, it seems I’m not alone! I mean, Claire Danes dumped the guy, The Atari’s released a hate filled rant called “Ben Lee” (you better stay out of my town/cause if I had my way/I'd call up Snoop, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre/we'd come and beat you down”) and Bernard Fanning once referred to him as a precocious little c^&t".

I hate* Ben Lee, and that’s the way I like it.

*May be a slight overreaction.

1 comment:

  1. Katie Langley, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post on Ben Lee as your penned thoughts are always highly amusing and are a fantastic companion to have of a night whilst sipping on say a cup of hot chai tea. However I do have to admit publicly, and please do not take offence to this, that I wish I never read this one.

    Ben Lee, up until just now, has never particularly bothered me. He has always managed to evade my 'most disliked* artists' radar disguised in a haze of indifference. Dodging and ducking through the legs of Flo Rida and Adam Levine, crouching behind Lady Gagas absurdness and nose. Sometimes even slipping his slight frame in between Christina Aguileras ridiculous cleavage. Yes, Lee is a cunning little fox, his irritability has outrun me for years! That is, until I read your article.

    'Cigarettes Will Kill You' was a pivotal song of my early adolescent years, yet now I can't help but feel a bit silly and delusional about this statement as your opinions on this particular song and Ben in general are so shrouded in truth! So forgive me for saying I regret the moment I ever chose to read this piece but I hope you can understand that sometimes ignorance is bliss.



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