"Hyper-Ballad" always reminds me of The Day Acid Came to Bloomington.
It was winter (either late 1995 or early 1996) and early one evening Ryan invited me over to his house to drop acid. I'd done acid once before, but with minimal success. We took a couple of hits and proceeded to listen to music and wait for the effects to hit. The albums of choice: Bjork's Post and Pulp's Different Class. At first, I barely noticed either playing because I was engrossed in visuals my continuous games of computer solitaire were creating for me. Later, I couldn't help but notice Bjork's rapturous howling and vividly imagined myself standing on a snow-capped mountain wearing a flowing white glow-in-the-dark gown throwing "car parts, bottles and cutlery" into a raging ocean. Later still, I struggled for an hour attempting to get the candy I didn't even want out of a pink transparent plastic replica of a cell phone we got at the gas station across the street.
A few hours of freak-out ensued, and we took an insane cab ride to Second Story to see some band. (Ryan, do you remember which?) As we walked in the club, to which we had just been two nights before, everything was different. The entrance was newly painted and decorated with a string of lights. Once inside, incredibly confused, we waded through the crowd toward the back of the bar where there used to be a large booth and table in the hopes we could snag it before the hipsters did. But when we got to the back, the booth was gone. All that remained was one tiny bar table and a video golf game. Come to think of it, maybe the strings of lights were back there, but whatever.
The place was packed and I was having a difficult time with the prospect of having to interact with anyone, though that didn't stop me from having a conversation with my crazy friend Aaron in a mixture of French and Italian. Ryan and I continued roaming and I somehow wound up in a conversation with an acquaintance named Chuck who was in a band called Lessick's Kid with my friend Brian. He kept rambling on and I was trying so hard to hold onto the words he was saying and assemble them in my head so they'd make sense, but it was really difficult. Then he said something I could grasp, "Okay, Liza, what are you on?" "Um, acid," I replied. "ME TOO!!! And so is so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so. Half of the people here are." I suddenly felt predictable and lame. Chuck continued rambling on about who was on what drug and I tried to focus my eyes on his face and his moving lips but all I could see was me back on top of that cliff in the glowing dress throwing myself into the waves below.
Apparently at some point in the '70s and '80s, the Gibbards, the Kwellers, the Lees, the Barnetts and the Foldses must've received secret individual messages from the Indie Illuminati with orders to name their sons Ben in order that they might fulfill their joint destiny to hypnotize desperate folk like myself who suffer from hardcore geek-lust with their deadly combination of talent, quirk, honesty andmost importantlyrecord contracts and pretty covers. (I hear that if you fold a $50 bill just right, you can see a picture of Ben Lee and Claire Danes breaking up!)
Any day now, the music-dork masses will rise up and push the start of a New World Order involving a strict daily regime of sitting around getting high, listening to one (or all) of the Chosen Bens, musing the cleverness of their lyrics and debating whether or not today will be the day that they decide to leave the house in an attempt to buy a new pair of Vans.
And you know those dreaded black helicopters you've heard about? They're full of promo materials soon to be unleashed on the U.S.: record flats, T-shirts, iron-ons, EPs, bumper stikcers and the like. No one knows when exactly this piñata will burst and unleash the beginning of the Age of Ben, but let's just say that on March 15, 2005, you might want to carry an umbrella around with you lest a pin-back button skewer you in the head from a mile away.
Possible brain damage aside, I, for one, eagerly anticipate the rule of our new Masters of Mope.