Better Than Ezra “Before The Robots” (2005)

     This next album is not on the list because it made anyone’s “Top Anything” list, nor is it some artist that connects me to the amazing people in my life.  This one is a personal choice, and to my knowledge, I’m the only person I know within my expansive friend and family group who even remotely cares about this group.  They are another Louisiana act, although my interest in them has nothing to do with their origin.  Quite simply, I heard a song on the radio once upon a time, “A Lifetime”, and I liked it enough that I bought the CD and loved the rest of it.  To be more specific, I think it was some alternative station on XM Radio, and I remain grateful to this day for Better Than Ezra, even if nobody else around me cares about them at all.  My friend Jim once said to me, “I think I like Ezra better than Better Than Ezra”.  I know my son isn’t a big fan, and I have never really pursued this interest with any of my other music friends.  And honestly, I’m ok with that.  As much as I love the communal spirit as we gather around our favorite artists, I also savor the personal moments where a song or record can mean something to me, without caring what anyone else thinks.

     After seeing them once at the House of Blues in Orlando many years ago, I was given a second chance more recently.  Of all places, they played a pre-game concert at a UCF football game.  As I gathered around the tens of other fans who showed up to see them play, by myself once again, I sat back and enjoyed the entire set, oblivious to anything else around me.

     Why do I like Better Than Ezra so much?  It starts with the high-tone voice of singer-songwriter Kevin Griffin.  It is extremely unique, and I love how he transitions from his primary voice to falsetto with such ease.  As I mentioned, the song that first pulled me in is “A Lifetime”, a sad-but-melancholy reflection on losing a close high school friend to a car accident, something we knew way too much about growing up in Parker, Colorado.

     My favorite song on the album after all of these years remains “Daylight”.  I’m drawn mainly to the melody and chord progression, along with Griffin’s vocals, but if you listen to the lyrics, it is a pretty powerful song about imperfect love that is ultimately unbreakable, regardless of the perils along the way.

     There are several other songs on this album that I really, really like.  The opener, “Burned” is a great album kick-off and a good, standard driving rocker.  “It’s Only Natural” is an intriguing slow-groove that grows on you quickly.  “Overcome” is a more distant and cosmic trance that I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed.  “American Dream” has always been another favorite, with a sadly poignant story about how our bright-eyed optimism of youth can quickly fall to the side with the realities of adulting.  “Our Last Night”, another of their singles from the record, is a very lush melody that is quite appealing.  I never knew this before tonight, but apparently Taylor Swift frequently covers this song in concert, which I absolutely take as a bit of validation for my BTE mini-obsession.  She has also covered “Breathless”, the last song on the album.  “A Southern Thing” is a much funkier rock track that completely taps into to their southern heritage in the best way.

     Oddly enough, my least favorite song on the album is probably “Juicy”, which was one of the most successful tracks on the record.  It sounds a little too much like Jagger’s falsetto on “Emotional Rescue”, and I just prefer Griffin’s more natural singing voice on the rest of the album.

     Better Than Ezra had their biggest hit early on in their career with the song “Good”, which was released in 1996, but by random circumstance I found this record, and to this day, it remains a favorite of mine and always will be.

Published by tacopepper

A music fan...

2 thoughts on “Better Than Ezra “Before The Robots” (2005)

  1. Yes! Count me as another lonely BTE fan. Though I only have the earlier “Deluxe” and “Friction, Baby” in my catalogue. Sadly, I never followed through with any of the later albums. But I’ll remedy that today and take a listen to “Before the Robots.” Thanks for the recommendation!


  2. I have three BTE albums. I like all of them. It is one of the few unabashedly pop albums I have that I still enjoy. These songs just ooze nostalgia, and normally I hate that, but I can’t help liking these guys. It’s a guilty habit, I guess.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: