October 7, 2012


In 1997, a 13-year old me went into a Disc Jockey in the Turfland Mall in Lexington, Kentucky. I knew what I wanted to purchased, but had absolutely no idea what the album was called or who it was by.

These were the days when I was starting to listen to the radio more and more, and was developing my own tastes as a listener. Around this time, I began hearing a song every now I found incredibly moving. I’m still not sure why I responded to this song at that age.

I’m still on the fence about if I believe in fate or not. But I’d like to think that there are particular songs and artists in the world that are destined to find you, changing your journey as a listener forever. I think this is one of the closest instances of that happening for me.

Anyway, I went into this store with only the vague memory of the aforementioned moving song. I remembered fragments of the chorus – something about drowning, mentions of a coast, and references to a girl. Other parts came back to me – Christmas was mentioned, flowers were exchanged, and someone felt more alone than ever before. Very specific, right?

I still have no idea what gave me the courage to walk up to the cashier, a raven haired older girl who seemed straight out of “Daria,” and pursue my quest. Sheepishly, I explained my predicament to her and relayed all the evidence I had collected. I expected a caustic response and a scoff based on my limited knowledge of characters in “Daria,” but the cashier began to go through her own music catalogue to try to find the song for me. She furrowed her brow and closed her eyes as I stood there not sure what to do.

After some thought, she had a song she thought fit my vague description. She went back to find the potential CD, and snapped it into a walkman. As soon as the piano came in, I knew my search was over. “Brick” by Ben Folds Five was the song I’d been looking for. “Whatever and Ever Amen” was one of the earliest CDs I bought and has been one of my favorite albums ever since.

“They’re a very sarcastic band,” she explained as she put my receipt into the bag.

I nostalgically think of this story every time I overhear a song I like in the peripheral of my day. However, now I just jot down a few phrases from the lyrics. I go to my computer, type the phrases into google, and fairly often the search is over. Even though I love that everything is so much more accessible with the digital musical world, it really does sadden me sometimes I won’t have to go to my local CD store and go through this awkward interaction again.

Tonight, I get to see the recently reunited Ben Folds Five at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia.

I hope they’re still sarcastic.