ellen and ben
they met at someone's house warming party
they didn't like each other at first
but i was still there
i heard them talking as they found their raincoats
they made a date expecting the worst
ellen went home
she made a snack and went up on her rooftop
and didn't think about ben at all
she stayed up for hours
just watching all the drunk folks find their taxis
because all in all it was a good night

soco in bed
a sunny sunday watching john mclaughlin
and having sex again and again
i stopped by
because ellen had my copy of nebraska
they never even put on their clothes
hung for a while
but everytime i tried to ask them something
they started making out again
i thought it was rude
i couldn't tell you why

ellen and ben
they may as well have run off to havana
and simply dissapeared for a year
they show up at shows
but less and less and saying 'hi' to no one
and why they ever came wasn't clear
they got a new place
but neither of their names were in the phonebook
so no one really knew where they were
i thought it was cheap
but i couldn't tell you why

when i was ten
i had this book of modern fighter planes
with f15s and MiGs
that and a bowl of Breyer's Mint Chip was life at its apex
the chewing of pens
the ocean city girls out on the boardwalk singing oh oh oh yeah yeah yeah

ellen and ben
i heard they broke up loudly at a wedding
and never saw each other again
it seems kind of weird
they made each other feel like they could die but
they couldn't stay the slightest of friends
well i'm doing fine
i'm staying busy hanging with my nephew
and trying to keep my eyes on the prize
you know how it goes
and so do i so call me if you can now
you know how i love a surprise


Lyrics submitted by plosion, edited by peanutbuttermerkin

Ellen and Ben song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    I really like the irony in that final line -- "You know I would love a surprise." The narrator of this song seems like a fairly unambitious guy, stuck in the rat race, "trying to keep [his] eyes on the prize, you know how it goes." Ellen and Ben seem to represent unabashed romance in all its messy, self-destructive glory, and our narrator is really put off by it. Yet he tells himself, and us, that he's the kind of guy who likes surprises, spontaneity, fun things.

    It's that old conflict between keeping your head above water and letting your heart do what it wants. It's something the Plan was concerned with from its first album, and I just think it's fitting that all those tensions are summed up in the last song and the last line of the band's career.

    TGon December 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song pretty much sums up the fate of a lot of random short-lived friendships you make in your 20's.

    rpupkin77on December 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i've seen this happen a lot.

    yellowstaron September 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i like the stream of consciousness. it is actually like he is sitting down telling the story to some one after awhile he starts to ramble. and the person he is telling has to be like "hey, finish the story". i'd almost say forest gump esque.

    JimDillonon December 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I like how this song illustrates that sometimes the more in love you are with someone, and the more involved you were with them, the harder it is to remain friends afterwards. I don't know why that is, but it does pan out that way occasionally.

    plosionon December 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Anybody know what Nebraska is? I found this on Amazon:

    amazon.com/o/ASIN/0871133490

    Not sure if that's what he's talking about.

    toadtwson February 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Nebraska is an album by Bruce Springsteen.

    That could be what he's referring to.

    Stolenbuson March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is definately not stream of conciousness writing. Why would Travis include the part about his childhood? Why would he include the end portion about himself? Who is the "you" he is refering to in the last verse? Why would the person ask how he is doing? I think that the narrator was in love with Ellen and was majorly bummed out when she hooked with Ben. This would explain why he would bother telling this story and why he would update us on his status at the end of the song. Keeping his eyes on the prize and off of love. Springsteen sucks. Maybe the "you" at the end is Ellen or some other person. If not Ellen then who? Any ideas?

    johnielsen08on August 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song can be taken a number of ways, simply because you don't know who the narrarotor of the story is supposed to be in the story. Is he an onlooking friend of both of them? Is he a friend who secretly loved Ellen? Or is he Ben himself? There's a lot of ways to take it, but great song eiether way.

    Emergency&Meon February 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    TG, so well put. This humble, simple-sounding song is a great capper to the Plan's recording career--it might as well be a fond farewell to the fans as well...that relationships (even in a band, sure)change and sometimes end...but life goes on. It also works as a straight-ahead story of this couple, told 'dispassionately and objectively,' or so the narrator would have you believe (and how about that sidebar in the lyrics...fascinating). I love songs that don't reveal everything and make you wonder a bit. What a band this was.

    prufrock68on February 23, 2007   Link

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