Ben Folds Five

My first concert ever was Beck, Ben Folds Five, and, I think, poor Elliott Smith. At the time, Folds was by far my favorite, though now I’d probably place both of the others ahead of him. I was 13, and I went with this boy who had liked me for a year before and would continue to be interested through my sophomore year of college. His father sat a few rows behind us, chaperoning. And during an intermission, I ran into the 16-year-old guy that I (and every other girl I knew) had a crush on at camp earlier that summer. It was pubescent awkwardness at its best.

This is all kind of tangential to the fact that, a few nights ago, someone mentioned the Rockford Files, and I got Ben Folds Five’s “Battle of Who Could Care Less” stuck in my head. I probably hadn’t heard the song in at least five years, but I suddenly needed to listen to it. Thank heavens for Last.fm.

It’s actually kind of a great song. It’s sort of about the same thing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is about, only less dramatic (okay, less classic) and more sardonic. I don’t think I even fully appreciated all the humor back in the ’90s. It’s packed with hilarious lyrics:

“I know it’s not your thing to care. I know it’s cool to be so bored. It sucks me in when you’re aloof.”

“Watch some Rockford Files and call to see if Paul could score some weed.”

“Unearned unhappiness. Well, that’s all right, I guess.”

“I’ve got this great idea. Why don’t we pitch it to the Franklin fuckin’ Mint? Fine pewter portraits of General Apathy and Major Boredom singing, ‘Whatever and ever, amen.'”

“See, I’ve got your old ID, and you’re all dressed up like The Cure.”

At the time, I must have actually thought that all of this boredom and apathy and getting stoned was pretty fucking cool. Now that I know how much of adult life is actually just like this, I understand what Ben Folds was making fun of.

Oh, fuck. I just tried to play the song for the fourth time in a row, and Last.fm cut me off. At least I still have YouTube.

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