Better Than Ezra is an alternative rock boy band with three members who met at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1987. It comprises Kevin Griffin (vocalist and guitarist), Michael Jerome (drummer), James Arthur Payne Jr. (guitarist and pianist), and Tom Drummond (bass guitarist). By 1988, they’d already released their demo, marking the beginning of their singing career. According to Wikipedia, they released eight albums. The most recent one released in 2014 was All Together Now. Their most significant break came in 1993 and 1995, thanks to their album, Deluxe, and single, “Good,” which peaked at one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Here are their ten best songs.
10. “Juicy” (Before the Robots- 2005)
“Juicy” is a fantastic track featured in an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. It was also used to promote Desperate Housewives and a tv commercial for promoting mouthwatering steaks called Chili’s. It reached number 13 on the US Billboard Top 40 chart, making it the band’s highest charting single in four years.
9. “A Lifetime” (Closer- 2001)
“A Lifetime” was a track that Griffin wrote as a tribute to Gram Parsons. He was a close friend who had suddenly died. Gram’s friend had stolen his casket and set it on fire in the morning. The song peaked at 13 on the US Billboard Adult Top 40.
8. “Rosealia” (Deluxe- 1993)
“Rosealia” is a song describing a woman in an abusive relationship. While attending a concert in Albuquerque on September 21, 2009, Kevin Griffin revealed that he dedicated this song to the then Pink Adobe restaurant owner, Rosalea Murphy. He noticed how stressed she always looked, trying to juggle work and an abusive relationship while living temporarily in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The song peaked at 71 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and 69 on Canada’s Top Singles. The US Modern Rock Tracks ranked it 24 and stayed in that position for eleven weeks.
7. “King of New Orleans” (Friction, Baby- 1996)
“King of New Orleans” by Better Than Ezra represents homeless kids found in the French Quarter of the city. It was dubbed “gutter punks” by then. As is expected, people neglected these kids, prompting Kevin Griffin to cover their story through this song. In an interview with SongFacts, he revealed that he came across one kid who looked like the leader. So, he created a fictional “Peter Pan-like” illusion out of the kid and crowned him the “King of New Orleans.”
6. “This Time of Year” (Deluxe- 1993)
“This Time of Year” is one of those melancholy songs you want to listen to when thinking about the good times, despite experiencing the bad. Some music reviewers claim it’s about the cycles of sadness. Your intuition suggests that you’re about to go through seasons or weather, and there’s no escape route. It’s an excellent song encouraging you to be strong despite feeling under the weather.
5. “In the Blood” (Deluxe- 1993)
Out of all songs that Better Than Ezra released, “In the Blood” wasn’t charted on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it reached the Hot 100 Airplay chart, peaking at 48. That gave it enough leverage to be successful on radio. Its video was even aired on MTV. The lyrics talk about someone questioning their lover’s reason for ignoring the things they’ve been through. The narrator doesn’t understand why she’s thrown everything they worked so hard for. It doesn’t take a genius to notice the regretful message of this song.
4. “Extra Ordinary” feat. DJ Swamp (Closer- 2001)
“Extra Ordinary” is a song describing the simple things people take for granted in life. For example, you have a loyal partner but hardly spend time with them. Eventually, they might withdraw emotionally. They’ll be long gone when you think of salvaging the relationship. The song peaked at 14 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, 35 on the Modern Rocks chart, and 11 on the Top 40 Adult Recurrents chart. In addition, it was used by McDonald’s for a tv commercial during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
3. “Desperately Wanting” (Friction, Baby- 1996)
Another song that made this band famous in the US, Australia, and Canada is “Desperately Wanting.” It peaked at 48 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1997. The Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart ranked it at 10, while Canada’s RPM Top Singles at 13. Interestingly, its video was filmed at the Los Angeles International Airport. In an interview with SongFacts.com, Kevin Griffin revealed that the song describes mistakes people make while young. While it’s typical to do that, there comes the point where you’ll desperately want to change.
2. “At the Stars” (How Does Your Garden Grow? -1998)
According to This is my jam, How Does Your Garden Grow? It is the second album released by the boy band in 1998. “At the Stars” is the third single featured on this album. It peaked at 17 on Billboard’s Modern Rock charts. While the album ranked 128 on the Billboard charts, music critics like The Washington Post called it “clever, consistent, and deftly eclectic.” All Music also regarded it as the status of Better Than Ezra’s best album.
1. “Good” (Deluxe- 1995)
“Good” was written by the band’s lead singer, Kevin Griffin, in late 1990 after graduating from LSU. In an interview, he revealed that the song was about relationships going sour. However, what matters is what you can learn from the unfortunate experience instead of wallowing in self-pity. Ironically, he wasn’t describing his personal experience. The song peaked at one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, three on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, and thirty on Billboard Hot 100. It was also used for the trailer for The Baby-Sitters Club in 1995 and Dirty Work in 1998.
Overall, Better Than Ezra’s songs are amazing and phenomenal. Though most didn’t perform well on the charts, it’s recommended to listen to all of them. That way, you can decide which one is your favorite.
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