The Beastie Boys made the mistake of telling him a few years ago that he had some talent. He then came straight out and declared himself the best singer-songwriter of Australia's past, present and future (without actually having really done anything).
Ben Lee apologists will tell you that this remark was taken out of context, or blame it on the naivety of youth. Unfortunately this arrogance continues to pervade his work - you only need to read an interview of his.
The worst thing that sucks about this guy is the image he tries to portray, as this thoughtful, arty, indie, uber-alternative sort of musician. You will find him posing for photos or album covers with the same quizzical wide-eyed blank stare.
Exactly the same thing happens with his music. Just before his last album was released he was running around telling everyone who'd listen that he was taking us on a magical journey, that this was the result of all of his song-writing experience, and he was so happy with what he was doing.
The end result is the most mainstream, disposable pop you could ever imagine. If it was made by somebody else you would think it was probably OK, but when you're expecting the next Paul Simon it's a bad joke. His lyrics are simple, childish and repetitive (see "Gamble Everything for Love") and even a marginally acceptable song like "Catch My Disease" is ruined by his thin, reedy, high-pitched voice.
While I know you can't do too much about how you look, his gigantic ears and stupid Frodo-like hair are laughable and nauseating at the same time. I suspect he plays up on this to further enhance the "arty" image. When people knock his music he blames the fact that most Australians don't like nerdy looking guys, and he cracked the shits and went to the US and was briefly with Claire Danes (the celebrity missus...SOOOO alternative!)
I don't know how popular he is in the US or UK but if you come to Australia and meet one of his fans or hear his music, don't be sucked in. Ignore the inevitable stacks of thumbs-down this will attract because unfortunately the 14 year old girls who think he's fantastic will spew when they hear the truth.
Ben Lee, along with guys like Rob Thomas and James Blunt, is the reason mainstream pop sucks as much arse as it does these days.
Ben Lee is a conceited fraudster who needs to be put in the meat grinder.
When you first see him in an interview, he's got this semi-likeable goofyness about him. However, it only takes a few minutes for that contrived juvenility to really make you want to punch him in the grill. Again, it isn't because his music is totally wretched, it's because he acts like his music is so incredibly deep and insightful, and the only people who don't like it are people who don't like it *yet*.
Get over yourself Ben Lee. Your music and lyrics are childish and aimless. You recycle the same old crap that has been pop music for the last 20 years, spit-shine it, and try to pass it off as this amazing new social awakening. What's even worse is that you try to pass it off as being your own - something that only you could have created.
Enjoy your blip on the radar screen, then take whatever money you make and go get a life you silly little bitch.
Lee is Jewish and was educated in a private school in Sydney's snobby Eastern suburbs. Yet he passes himself of as indy/alternative and sings in a distinctly American accent. Evidently Ben Lee suffers from some sort of identity crisis.
If you have ever wondered what a song that has been pencilled in under 5 minutes sounds like, go and buy a Ben Lee album. After a short time of listening you will soon realise that what you actually just bought was nothing more than an overpriced beer coaster.
Was recently sconned in the head with a beer bottle thrown by a disgruntled Perth concert-goer. I guess it shows that the public can only endure so much of this rubbish and are finally starting to fight back.
Person B: "The only way I can AVOID hearing it is by flying to the moon and hiding in a cupboard".