91. Song No. 997: “Big Love,” Ben Lee
Love is the Great Rebellion, 2015
Ripe was the last Ben Lee album I really got excited about in that way when you’re counting down the days ’til the record drops, reading every early review you can find and maniacally rooting around the internet for any hint of the treats waiting to be discovered on an album that can’t be released soon enough. I absolutely still love his music and he is hands-down one of the happiest, most optimistic guys slinging songs today; his overriding message of love and how we’re all in this together are, without hyperbole, infinitely more important now than they were in the early aughts and so worth diving into for a little assurance that someone actually is out there is fighting the good fight.
By the time Love is the Great Rebellion came out eight years later, there was no question I’d be downloading it but my taste in music had shifted to a place where Ben Lee’s sunny, vivacious music didn’t scratch all the itches it used to. I played it a few times and liked it well enough but a recession and some jobs I hated and other assorted pains of reluctantly shuffling into my 30s kind of ate away at the optimism that Ben Lee and I used to share.
And then “Big Love” came up recently and, like quite a few other songs that got their second chance because of this project, I couldn’t believe it bypassed me the first time on the merit of its poppy charm alone. But holy fuckbars, was this ever the balm my election-season-cranky soul needed.
Leave it to Ben Lee to write a mood-lifting tune about maybe being a little crazy but leading with a good heart and “victory born out of a disaster” and looking inside to tap into the bigger, meaningful love we could probably all use right now.
This upbeat celebration of living authentically and loving truly has shifted and morphed these past few days as my emotional landscape has been thrown into executive-function-failure turmoil exacerbated by helplessly refreshing election results and stewing in the collective uncertainty and gallows humor of friends and anonymous internet denizens alike. And today, even knowing there is so much still to do and allowing myself to stop and take a cautiously relieved breath before yelling about how fucked up everything still is — including the relief of bare-minimum decency being a celebratory virtue instead of a baseline social expectation — I am choosing to feel the love we all have the potential to unite under.