This week’s chapter of my 1000 Minutes Project is far more nostalgic than I intended it to be at the outset, but it’s not a bad place to look back upon. To see where I’ve been already with this project, check out my full list.
While not nearly as affected by it as some, I certainly enjoyed – and even partially identified with – Steven Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The most famous line of the novel – “and in that moment, I swear we were infinite” – even has a home on Urban Dictionary as being “one of the greatest lines from the greatest book ever.” While that definition can almost certainly be classified as hyperbole, the feeling the quote describes is undeniably true.
This song gives me that feeling of the infinite. It’s a hand outside of the window while on a road trip. It’s the nervous twinge of excitement about what the next day will bring. And it’s as unforgettable as any of the experiences that define us.
Following close on the heels of The Perks of Being a Wallflower – at least in terms of the teenage need for finding acceptance – is the mid-nineties geek/piano rock of Ben Folds Five. I’d be lying if I told you that I was up on Ben Folds Five when their eponymous debut was released; like most people, I heard them when I when “Brick” was everywhere. Saving up my dollars from my teenage job stocking shelves at the local drugstore, I bought Whatever and Ever Amen and then, working backwards, I discovered Ben Folds Five.
When I look back at it today “Underground” was more influential than “Brick” could have been. The thematic elements of “Brick” were so far removed from my seventeen year old mindset that they simply made for a sad, thoughtful song rather than one upon which I could have any personal claim. But “Underground,” in all of its rollicking, inclusive glory, was much more my speed – just a little to the left (or right, as it was then) of where I assumed most everyone to be, and completely perfect.