Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Ben Lee makes us consider what it would be like if we could just stop worrying so much, sit back and relax a little. It might not be quite what his mission is. He's actually a worrier, but he gets it all out of him in constructive ways, actually distilling out the imperfections that are easy to fixate on - getting to some place that's not so petrifying. He breaks down his nightmares and those nagging problem areas to a point where they seem a lot more harmless than they once did. He's all about maybe worrying a whole bunch, figuring what's actually making you worry in the first place, and then completely throwing most of the findings out the window. It's like sitting there in your chair, with a scrunched up brow that's giving you a splitting headache and you stop to think about why you're wearing such an expression. You wonder why your face is doing what it's doing, why you HAVE to be experiencing that headache, and you come to the conclusion that you can't remember. It's as if there's no reason whatsoever for the sour mood or the behavior you've been exhibiting - the barking and the short fuse. You've got little reason to be so worked up, so you stop. It's an act and it's fruitless. Lee has long been a man of considerable optimism in his songwriting. He vows happiness. He's considered it a disease, but it sure is better than the alternative. He sings on his latest album, "Deeper Into Dream," about wanting only something that he refers to as "pointless beauty." It's just like saying that he wants something that doesn't need an analysis or a definition. It doesn't need to make sense to anyone but him. It can just be pretty for pretty's sake and, even if everyone else thinks it's ugly, it makes no difference. For him, it's all that's needed. He's in love with what he sees and that can go a long way. It's too difficult to try and be happy for the sake of other people. It's hard enough to be happy here and now. You need to be able to hold your happiness in your hands and you need to know that it's not quivering, that it's not scared, that it's nestling in, exchanging its warmth with you and you with it. Lee writes like this man who understands that most attempts at making reasonable dreams come true are fairly successful. It's quite nice to hear, that not everything is crummy, that these days can turn out alright if we would just let them, if we'd just unwrinkle our faces and sweep the intensity off of our foreheads.