Song of the Day #162: ‘The Luckiest’ – Ben Folds

benfolds2I don’t know whether this is more a sign of my insensitivity or my passion for music, but on September 11, 2001, I made a point to hit Best Buy to pick up Ben Folds’ new release Rockin’ the Suburbs (along with Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft). New albums always come out on Tuesdays and when my favorite artists are involved, I always buy them on the day of release. To alter that pattern because of an attack on the homeland would just mean the terrorists had won.

I know a reporter who, on the same morning, suggested he go to Circuit City to interview people watching the horror on the TV bank there just so he could pick up the Dylan album. So at least I’m not alone in my depravity.

To get back on topic, though, the other thing I remember about first hearing this album is how immediately its final track, ‘The Luckiest,’ struck me as perfect for Alex and me. As soon as I heard it, I e-mailed her the lyrics from my closet-sized office in Hollywood, Florida and awaited the “awwww” response.

The closing lines about the elderly couple definitely hit home, but the line I most identified with was “in a wide sea of eyes I see one pair that I recognize, and I know that I am the luckiest.” It reminded me of our wedding day, and how nervous I was standing in front of a church full of people — alone, heart pounding, afraid I wouldn’t remember my vows.

And then Alex started down the aisle, our eyes locked, and it sounds corny but I knew right then that everything would be ok, that I would never really be alone again.

I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know that I am the luckiest

What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a wide sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know that I am the luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know that I am the luckiest

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #162: ‘The Luckiest’ – Ben Folds

  1. Amy says:

    I guess to point out that Ben Folds is no longer married to the woman who likely inpired these lyrics would be just plain insensitive. Still, given your anecdote about rushing out to buy new music as the twin towers were falling, insensitive may be the code word of the day ;-P

    I wonder how haunting it must be for songwriters (especially successful ones) to have their songs played and played years after their reality has changed (for instance, yesterday you mentioned Billy Joel’s “You’re my Home,” which was written for the first of his 3! wives – guess she was his year lease, or the house went into foreclosure).

    At least the fans of these songs can aspire to make their relationships do justice to the beautiful songs written by such tortured artists 😉 Anyway, here’s hoping you and Alex make it long past your 90’s, and that Ben Folds continues to write powerful love songs, regardless of his own relative lack of luck (or willingness to work?) in that area.

    This is a great song by a wonderful songwriter.

  2. Clay says:

    Yes, Alex and I were reading up on Ben’s many marriages last night. At least his songs for his kids remain pure (unless he plans to disown Gracie).

  3. Amy says:

    I was thinking the same thing. That’s the safest bet – write a song for your kid 🙂

  4. Dana says:

    Very touching comments by Clay (not so much from my bubble bursting wife, but you must forgive her because she is cranky with a cold:))

    By the way, I think another great theme week could be breakup songs, and there are, of course, a number of those you can find on Folds’ new album, including the wonderful “You Don’t Know Me at All” and the less wonderful but kinda funny “The Bitch Went Nuts.” I suppose one of the interesting things about being in a relationship with a songwriter is that you get all these great love songs on the front end, and then these scathing breakup songs on the back end.

    Oh, and at one point in the day did you go to Best Buy on 9/11? That really is quite an interesting thing to do. All I remember from that day was sitting in front of the TV in a state of shcok, and talking to family and friends about what happened. Now that I think about it, I don’t recall speaking to you that day:) Hmmmm…..

  5. Clay says:

    I went either on a lunch break or on the way home from work.

  6. Amy says:

    He was too busy listening to his new albums ;-P

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