I love Ben Lee’s music. Basically ALL of it. His music saved my life in the late 90s. I was in a really bad place, emotionally (especially while I was living in California)… and Ben’s music just did it for me.
I was introduced to Ben Lee’s music by my friend Lindsey back in the late 90s. She made me a few tapes of Ben Lee’s “Grandpaw Would” and “Something To Remember Me By” (the extra tracks version with “Bad Radio Voice” and “In The Desert”). I listened to them non-stop for months and months and months. I learned all of Ben’s songs and would sing them and play them in my bedroom all the time, wishing I had a girl to sing them all to.
Ben was basically only 14 years old when the indie/alternative world first heard his music (with his first band Noise Addict). Mike D of the Beastie Boys had heard Noise Addict’s song “I Wish I Was Him” (an ode to Evan Dando of the Lemonheads) and absolutely loved it, then proceeded to release Noise Addict’s material on his (now-defunct) record label Grand Royal)… Ben’s first few solo albums were also released on Grand Royal.
When Ben released his first solo album “Grandpaw Would”, he was only friggin’ 16. His second album “Something To Remember Me By” was recorded when he was 17 and 18 (and after his voice got deeper). These songs on both of these albums are some of the best songs I have ever heard…. they’re catchy, they’re honest… they just fuckin’ RULE…. I can’t praise his earlier works enough…. these songs saved my life and still do.
Ben’s music is completely honest and passionate. It’s humorous, but not to the point where it’s ridiculous. He puts just enough humor in his songs that make you crack a smile, but not enough to make you laugh and forget about the pure heart that pours out of his songs. His earlier music was a lot more melancholy and teen-angst-y, but his more recent stuff is a bit lighter (some would say too light, or kind of bland).
I strongly prefer his first two albums, the same ones my friend made me tapes of…. a vast majority of the songs are simply him and his acoustic guitar, singing about love, dysfunctional families, friends, being lonely, etc. And by the way, don’t discount this guy’s music just because he was a teenager when he wrote and recorded them… don’t even think of comparing Beiber’s fluff to Ben’s genius)…. this is brilliant shit.
So… yeah. Enough of me babbling. Let’s hear this fantastic music!
edit: added “Cigarettes Will Kill You” which is such a rad song. I forgot to include it in the initial post.