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Ben Harper — Excuse Me Mister
Album: Fight For Your Mind
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1311








Released: 1995
Length: 5:08
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Excuse me Mr.
Do you have the time
Or are you so important
That it stands still for you

Excuse me Mr. won't you
Lend me your ear
Or are you not only blind
But do you not hear

Excuse me Mr., but
Isn't that your oil in the sea
And the pollution in the air Mr.
Whose could that be

So excuse me Mr.
But I'm a mister too
And you're givin' Mr. a bad name
Mr. like you

So I'm taking the Mr.
From out in front of your name
'Cause it's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame
It's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame

And I've, I have seen enough, I've seen enough to know
That I've seen too much

Excuse me Mr.
Can't you see the children dying
You say that you can't help them
Mr. you're not even trying

Excuse me Mr.
Just take a look around
Oh Mr. just look up
And you will, you will see it comin' down

Excuse me Mr.
But I'm a, I'm a mister too
And you're givin' Mr. a bad name
Mr. like you

So I'm taking the Mr.
From out in front of your name
'Cause it's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame
It's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame

And I've seen enough, I have seen and I have seen
I have seen enough to know
That I've seen too much
I've seen enough, I have seen enough, to know that I have seen too much

See 'cause Mr. when you're rattling
On heaven's gate
Let me tell you Mr.
By then it is too late

'Cause Mr. when you get there
They don't ask, they don't ask what you saved
All they'll want to know, Mr.
Is what you gave

So excuse me Mr.
But I'm a mister too
And you're givin' Mr. a bad name
Mr. like you

So I'm taking the Mr.
From out in front of your name
'Cause it's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame
It's a Mr. like you
That puts the rest of us to shame
Comments (114)add comment
I like the lyrics---mister.
Fresh air (npr) just interviewed him and his mother. 
 Bazooka wrote:
Capitalism is imperfect at best but it's still the best we got.  
 
Capitalism, luxuries are necessities. Communism, necessities are luxuries.
The sleepy pontificator...
mister mister mister....

 Hungerdunger wrote:
If you want to hear how this song SHOULD be done, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoozlf3PB0
 

But it was written by Ben Harper.
If you want to hear how this song SHOULD be done, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoozlf3PB0
 freddyfender wrote:

Wow, aren't you the mature one.  Perhaps your 17 year old self should come back to kick your ass.

 Tha'ts awesome!...yes he or she should! 

Kind of boring music but I love the song so I gave it an 8. What fun. Thanks RP for playing it.
Great song, great artist!  Have enjoyed many live performances and it's never enough... even with his mom once!

(dragging of locally-stored images into post editor is not allowed - dragging images from other web pages is ok)

 kaubey wrote:
Really horrible, naive, oversimplified, obvious, sanctimonious lyrics.  I remember feeling the same way when I was 17.
 
Wow, aren't you the mature one.  Perhaps your 17 year old self should come back to kick your ass.
Think this was originally a John Martyn song.
 Johnny_Wave wrote:
Excuse me mister, but this song sucks!  PSD to the rescue

 
Excuse me mister, but you could just press instead of cry-and-press. {#Cry}
there's nothing in this
now I cannot hear this song without seeing below face.... 


"Duh ...  no, it's YOU who did it. Sad."
 boober wrote:

Sounds like Dr John.

Not a bad thing.



 
I thought it was until I came to look.
Tedium and tediummer
It's the voice inside of his own head.  That's my take.
Well, this is bleak. 
I want to like this, at least for the message. But the delivery really is not pleasant. If that's the point, consider it a success. But whenever I hear this on RP it grates to no end. Maybe if I were watching it performed live it would resonate. Heard coming over the computer speakers, the effect is not enjoyable.  I needed to express this.
Wackness
 m9c99 wrote:

Good point!
 You know what you speak of, I am impressed by your words. Mark
 pablocasa wrote:

Your non rhyming version, and Ben's version, hit the nail on the head for underlying root cause of lameness in humanity.
Wealth (economic) is not an inherent good, it's just a game based in fear of not having enough,
The monetary trade system works great until just money alone disproportionately comprises the fruits of the ultimate goal.
It's a foreseeable outcome given natural tendencies, but is short sighted. Even animals and insects behave more justly. At some point greed is self defeating because it is chasing is right of the planet. It's frustrating, we're better than that. But the wealthy and now even the religious are starting to make choices for the longer term so there's still hope.

I wonder how many unhappy corporate execs heard this song and saw differently.
 

 
Good point!
I'm taking out the mister from in front of your name, because it's misters like you that put the rest of us to shame.

Great stuff!
 
Catchy!
David Koch
 {#Clap}
Johnny_Wave wrote:
Excuse me mister, but this song sucks!  PSD to the rescue

 


I'm listening yes I;m listening
    I know you'e serious.
Excuse me mister, but this song sucks!  PSD to the rescue
 kapetto wrote:


Right, because now you're taken seriously.

Do you even understand the meaning of sanctimonious?  I'll give you a hint, somebody who belittles the lyrics of a 4 minute song as "naive, oversimplified, obvious", may in fact, be sanctimonious.

Not that it isn't true, but what do you expect?

Excuse me Mister
You represent a figurehead for an entrenched "elite" class
Your net worth in currency does not demand my respect
I might respect you if your access and power were used for the betterment of humanity, as opposed to lining your shareholder's pockets
And, yet, I am forced to recognize that you are in some ways trapped by the same system
I mean, it's not like you can just up and change the world, any more than I can
But, I then again, you've consistently defended morally indefensible positions through riducule that any other choices would be naive, oversimplified, and obvious; not to mention significantly less profitable
This sucks, but the world is complicated

None of that rhymes!  It's a terrible song.

Maybe you should consider whether or not it will get radio play, before you make such oblivious, reductionist, trite, and self-righteous observations.

That said, I agree with you.

 
Your non rhyming version, and Ben's version, hit the nail on the head for underlying root cause of lameness in humanity.
Wealth (economic) is not an inherent good, it's just a game based in fear of not having enough,
The monetary trade system works great until just money alone disproportionately comprises the fruits of the ultimate goal.
It's a foreseeable outcome given natural tendencies, but is short sighted. Even animals and insects behave more justly. At some point greed is self defeating because it is chasing is right of the planet. It's frustrating, we're better than that. But the wealthy and now even the religious are starting to make choices for the longer term so there's still hope.

I wonder how many unhappy corporate execs heard this song and saw differently.
 
Incredible album!

Sounds like Dr John.

Not a bad thing.


 kaubey wrote:
Really horrible, naive, oversimplified, obvious, sanctimonious lyrics.  I remember feeling the same way when I was 17.

 

I agree with you 100%.
 petesku wrote:
I love this song explicit for the lyrics.

 
The lyrics are fine, but the delivery grates. Is it my interpretation, or is yer man trying to exculpate himself as a man from the crimes of the patriarchal elite, or is that reading too much into the words?

I love this song explicit for the lyrics.

 kaubey wrote:
Really horrible, naive, oversimplified, obvious, sanctimonious lyrics.  I remember feeling the same way when I was 17.

 

Right, because now you're taken seriously.

Do you even understand the meaning of sanctimonious?  I'll give you a hint, somebody who belittles the lyrics of a 4 minute song as "naive, oversimplified, obvious", may in fact, be sanctimonious.

Not that it isn't true, but what do you expect?

Excuse me Mister
You represent a figurehead for an entrenched "elite" class
Your net worth in currency does not demand my respect
I might respect you if your access and power were used for the betterment of humanity, as opposed to lining your shareholder's pockets
And, yet, I am forced to recognize that you are in some ways trapped by the same system
I mean, it's not like you can just up and change the world, any more than I can
But, I then again, you've consistently defended morally indefensible positions through riducule that any other choices would be naive, oversimplified, and obvious; not to mention significantly less profitable
This sucks, but the world is complicated

None of that rhymes!  It's a terrible song.

Maybe you should consider whether or not it will get radio play, before you make such oblivious, reductionist, trite, and self-righteous observations.

That said, I agree with you.
Love the percussion on this song...

Never heard this version before, kinda sucks. Love the other version Harper does though, need to play that one, totally different, faster and it rocks.


Great great album.
Great lyrics.
Excuse me, mister, what happened to lyrics?

Holy shit.
What a load of self indulgent tripe. 
Wait, is this Ben H killing John Martyn's song?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloody effin hell.

I love RP and I hate lame music. 
Substitute Kravitz's "Mr. Cab Driver" please. We get the same general kinda idea with a helluva lot fewer (yet, some) "misters", and some attitude to boot.


{#Stupid} gumbo73039 wrote:
I quite liked this, but I'd rather listen to John Martyn's version, seems to have soul as well as delivery.
Still like Mr Harper..
 


I quite liked this, but I'd rather listen to John Martyn's version, seems to have soul as well as delivery.
Still like Mr Harper..
Mister
bad song and bad politics
 conglif wrote:

Under capitalism, we have man's inhumanity to man...

...where as under communism, its the other way 'round.


 

:)
 Jelani wrote:

Took the words right out of my mouth.
Thank you!

 
same here

 Bazooka wrote:
Capitalism is imperfect at best but it's still the best we got. Good Song. 
 
A good party man! {#Clap} FYI:There are actually a number of better economic systems out there, but they don't get much media traction. Try bartering!

 notremotely wrote:
  

(wide ridicule and criticism of this statement to commence in 3...2...1...)
  not from me!


Shut up. pretentious piece of garbage. Excuse ME.


"Indifference" Live by Ben Harper Eddie Vedder Acoustic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gImzY-X-voQ


kaubey wrote:
Really horrible, naive, oversimplified, obvious, sanctimonious lyrics. I remember feeling the same way when I was 17.


Took the words right out of my mouth.
Thank you!

 Bazooka wrote:
Capitalism is imperfect at best but it's still the best we got. Good Song. 
 
Under capitalism, we have man's inhumanity to man...

...where as under communism, its the other way 'round.


Really horrible, naive, oversimplified, obvious, sanctimonious lyrics.  I remember feeling the same way when I was 17.

Capitalism is imperfect at best but it's still the best we got. Good Song. 
 lixy wrote:
Decades of heavy anti-communist propaganda enshrined such myths in the American minds.

whatever.{#Rolleyes}

America has a population of 300 million; That's less than 1/22th of 6.7 billion on Earth. Yet, the US consumes more than 1/4th of the world energy. The rest of the world can cut emissions all it wants, the results will not be palpable until the US enters the Kyoto protocol.
 
My point exactly. Blaming (for example) the greedy oil companies misses the point; it's the consumers who vote for whoever they think will keep gas cheap.

en⋅nui

 < type="text/javascript"><> /ɑnˈwi, ˈɑnwi; Fr. ɑ̃ˈnwi/ Show Spelled Pronunciation Show IPA Pronunciation
-noun
a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest

Tribute to MC 900 Ft. Jesus"The City Sleeps"??Maybe?
 sdn wrote:
It would be better if someone weren't standing on poor Ben's throat while he sang this.
 

Yea it sucks that everyone doesn't sound like Karen Carpenter.
What?....Huh?.....-  ** 7 **
Ugh. Not a fan.
Can't wait for Ben Harper to go away.  

(wide ridicule and criticism of this statement to commence in 3...2...1...)

{#Yawn}
sdn wrote:
"Apologist" does not mean "one who apologizes". It means "one who defends". I think RP needs a moratorium on hard words like "ennui" and "apologist". And maybe "moratorium"!
Clarification means neither - good point though. I'll look up the big words in the future :iamwithstupid:
gobits wrote:
That did not read as an apology. more like a clarification aimed at enlightening the over-analyzing critic who has probably never produced anything remotely artistic himself.
"Apologist" does not mean "one who apologizes". It means "one who defends". I think RP needs a moratorium on hard words like "ennui" and "apologist". And maybe "moratorium"!
Odyzzeuz wrote:
When a song needs an apologist, that's usually not a good sign.
That did not read as an apology or defense. more like a clarification aimed at enlightening the over-analyzing critic who has probably never produced anything remotely artistic himself. This song needs no apology or defending. the persons responsible for the situation (all of us, including the CEO's and Politicians) that lead him to write this song are the ones who should apologize.
It would be better if someone weren't standing on poor Ben's throat while he sang this.
For all you CEO's and politicians out there
sans wrote:
ennui means bordeom.
Ha! That's awesome, mister...
jberko wrote:
Guys, My son is a songwriter, and one day I was marveling at the depth of his lyrics, the ennui, the mood, and after complimenting him he says, "Dad, it just worked for me... it meant nothing."....
ennui means bordeom.
I dig this guy...I bought 3 CDs thanks to RP and I need some more..(agree)..There really is a fight for your mind

I suppose it's on purpose, but the mix on this track bugs me. Great groove, but bring the vocals up a bit, mister.
jberko wrote:
Guys, You read so much into this as if it were Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto. This is a sucessful American Musician expressing himself musically and emotionally. Song writing is "moment in time" anger, envy, passion, lust, revolution and any other emotion you might consider. My son is a songwriter, and one day I was marveling at the depth of his lyrics, the ennui, the mood, and after complimenting him he says, "Dad, it just worked for me... it meant nothing." Point here is, only Mr. Harper knows (or not) what drove hime to these lyrics. You can guess, but he is the final interpretor.
When a song needs an apologist, that's usually not a good sign.
ElSupreme wrote:
What about pounding beers at home? Alone?
Do you mean like 'walkin the dawg' by that?
Sheer agony.
Ben Harper or not, I'm tiring of preachy garbage like this. You're not changing anything, so shut up and rock.... Words aside, the music's cool....
Saw him at the VooDoo Music Experience in New Orleans last week. Very cool show. I'd love to see him again.
ChardRemains wrote:
might be ok if I were pounding beers at the Common Share. but I'm not.
What about pounding beers at home? Alone?
might be ok if I were pounding beers at the Common Share. but I'm not.
I like Ben Harper, but this is just dumb.
Excellent ...!
John Martyn does a pretty good version of this on his CD of covers - The Church with One Bell.
Guys, You read so much into this as if it were Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto. This is a sucessful American Musician expressing himself musically and emotionally. Song writing is "moment in time" anger, envy, passion, lust, revolution and any other emotion you might consider. My son is a songwriter, and one day I was marveling at the depth of his lyrics, the ennui, the mood, and after complimenting him he says, "Dad, it just worked for me... it meant nothing." Point here is, only Mr. Harper knows (or not) what drove hime to these lyrics. You can guess, but he is the final interpretor.
This is a stretch and a half! :puke:
hcaudill wrote:
What is all to easy is to blame someone else (the Man, in this case) for everything that is wrong with the world. We all consume electricity and drive and get mad when gas prices go up, so we all share the responsibility for pollution and oil spills. And how many of us are actually doing anything to help the "dying children"?
Decades of heavy anti-communist propaganda enshrined such myths in the American minds. A quick and dirty example: America has a population of 300 million; That's less than 1/22th of 6.7 billion on Earth. Yet, the US consumes more than 1/4th of the world energy. The rest of the world can cut emissions all it wants, the results will not be palpable until the US enters the Kyoto protocol. Consider also this: What are the chances of a million people like you and I in mitigating the Darfur/Palestine/Colombia massacre? Contrast with what W & co can achieve with a head nod.
KevDog wrote:
Sorry, no patience for this. Excuse me, Mr. Harper, have you ever heard of subtlety? The sledgehammer and one-dimensional approach is too easy and ineffective. The world ain't black and white, and only simple minds think it is. (How's that for a rant? :evil: )
Designating someone as simple-minded from one song may indicate a bit of.. ummm simple mindedness on your part. As for this song, while the message is clear, i would hardly call anything black and white or sledgehammer-ish. It may have a bit more subtlety than you were able to see i suppose. Off the top of my head, the mister my be adressing a part of all of us, or even a call to a part of himself, that he feels frustrated about in light of a reflection on the state of humanity. I am familiar with most of Ben Harper's work, and concluding that he is simple minded, one-dimensional, and views the world as black and white would be a tough sell in my opinion.
Bumped it down a notch. Simple minded.
You blithely assume that each of us is blessed with equal amounts of political and economic power and ability to make a difference with our actions. I think Ben here is nicely pointing out that that just ain't so. Yes, we all share responsibility for the world's ills, but implying that we are all EQUALLY responsible is extremely naive. hcaudill wrote:
What is all to easy is to blame someone else (the Man, in this case) for everything that is wrong with the world. We all consume electricity and drive and get mad when gas prices go up, so we all share the responsibility for pollution and oil spills. And how many of us are actually doing anything to help the "dying children"? As Walt Kelly said, "We have met the enemy ... and he is us."
Great political undergroud sound. Good stuff RP!
hcaudill wrote:
What is all to easy is to blame someone else (the Man, in this case) for everything that is wrong with the world. We all consume electricity and drive and get mad when gas prices go up, so we all share the responsibility for pollution and oil spills. And how many of us are actually doing anything to help the "dying children"? As Walt Kelly said, "We have met the enemy ... and he is us."
This is true. Which means, I guess, that we're all the Mister he's singing about. Does Ben actually devote himself to charitable causes and to saving dying children, or just to chiding everyone else and making money for himself in the process? I'd say it matters in this context. Not whether he's full of himself, but whether he's full of hypocrisy. Does he devote his life to others, or not?
great song from a great album
triviagal wrote:
OK so I read the lyrics. All I can say is, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi For those of you whose primary language isn't English, please pardon me... One of my pet peeves is reading published articles where the writer uses "you're" (you are) and the possessive "your" interchangably, which is the case on that lyrics page. The same with "they're" (they are), "there" and "their". This doesn't bug me so much when people use it in things like message boards or personal correspondence.
the lyrics sites serve as message boards in that listeners provide the lyrics to help us interested parties. i cannot say for sure what ben's own understanding is, but i can say that he did not contribute them to the lyric site that was provided for us.
(8?» wrote:
It is all too easy to criticize/marginalize Ben by rationalizing how he is so full of himself.
What is all to easy is to blame someone else (the Man, in this case) for everything that is wrong with the world. We all consume electricity and drive and get mad when gas prices go up, so we all share the responsibility for pollution and oil spills. And how many of us are actually doing anything to help the "dying children"? As Walt Kelly said, "We have met the enemy ... and he is us."
Originally Posted by rgrace: Berkeley, where I now live, also has this dichotomy. Ahhhh, not his best song. :p
I don't care for it now, but when I first lived in Berkeley, I would have been waving my fist and shouting the lyrics on Telegraph. Ah, youth. Is Rasputin's still there? Blondie's?
Originally Posted by catmaven: Appreciated triviagal's comments on how the apostrophe is misused. Can't really make out the lyrics. As to voice and tune, they are protesty and sensuous at the same time. Gravelly but still on tune; haunting and pulsating sound. My favorite of the ones I have heard so far, and would like to hear more of this guy. ;)
Not to mention how far too many self-appointed "writers" confuse "Complement" and "Compliment." This happens in advertising all the time. All kidding aside, though, this tune reminds me of the dotcom days in San Francisco, which my wife and I were in the middle of while it was happening. It reminds me of the social dichotomy that took place in those days. Berkeley, where I now live, also has this dichotomy. Ahhhh, not his best song. :p
Whatever they're filtering his voice through...it's awful. This is worthy of the mute button. :frustrated:
Appreciated triviagal\'s comments on how the apostrophe is misused. Can\'t really make out the lyrics. As to voice and tune, they are protesty and sensuous at the same time. Gravelly but still on tune; haunting and pulsating sound. My favorite of the ones I have heard so far, and would like to hear more of this guy. ;)
Originally Posted by (8?»: Here are the lyrics, now where does Ben claim to be without sin? Also, why does questioning the behavior of the ruling class make one self-righteous? If anything, he is stating that he doesn't want to be part of this class. He wants to be part of the solution. Which he attempts to accomplish through his music. Of course all too often those attempts fall on deaf ears. It is all too easy to criticize/marginalize Ben by rationalizing how he is so full of himself. (damn almost sounds like a Jesse Jackson moment there ;) ) It is much harder to actually listen to his message and accept it at face value. Just like Ben says.
OK so I read the lyrics. All I can say is, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi For those of you whose primary language isn't English, please pardon me... One of my pet peeves is reading published articles where the writer uses "you're" (you are) and the possessive "your" interchangably, which is the case on that lyrics page. The same with "they're" (they are), "there" and "their". This doesn't bug me so much when people use it in things like message boards or personal correspondence.
The lyrics are trite. They sound like something you\'d find as part of a high school environmental improvement project.
Don\'t believe in turning someone into a scapegoat and plea yourself and the rest of us \"misters\", free. Who\'s without sin.........etc.
if raggin on people for being money-grubbing, self-centered polluters is being self-righteous, then more power to him! love the song, love the band... Ben Harper is one of the few truly progressive MUSICIANS out there today.
The most self-rightous song I have ever heard.
Not really a fan of this song. Would like to hear some other stuff from Mister Harper see if I like it.
Ben\'s from my home town, remember those early days as he made his mark. A gifted song writer and a kind spirit...
Yaaaaaawwwwwwwwn :roll:
Not the best Ben Harper song Ho Hum
Excuse me, Bill! :) Play more of Harper and The Criminals cool music.