“I came up in the world with a pain in my back,
And I never could run with the wolves in the pack.”
There is something, I guess, quite voyeuristic in a way about enjoying hearing really personal lyrics. I’ve always been fascinated with the way Morrissey manages to make ugly feelings seem comforting or the way Shirley Manson managed to drag me through my teenage years kicking and screaming with her words of encouragement. Patti Smith taught me how to be tough. Lou Reed showed me how to find some comfort in who/what I am. Bob Dylan freed my mind. The Jesus And Mary Chain and Nick Cave defined love in ways no one else really ever has. There’s still this amount of honesty floating around in music. Finding it is tougher than it used to me. With those I mentioned it was always there. Nowadays it is quite hit and miss, but there are of course, exceptions. There’s one guy that’s been on my mind for quite some time now. I had to listen for a while to want to write something of worth. Whether or not it is, well..that’s up to whoever reads it. Numbers don’t mean much. That’s why I write as if I’m the only one reading.
Last week Ezra Furman’s new record came out, Day Of The Dog. It’s the definition of pure Rock & Roll. Some songs have a real 50s vibe to it (The Mall, a Paul Baribeau cover) yet others have a real ferocious feel to them (Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell.) He portrays love, loss and everything that is involved in these two feelings in such a beautiful way. The Mall, even though it isn’t Ezra’s song, is one of the most heartbreaking and honest songs I’ve heard in a long time. You can really pick up the sadness here, and the sadness is so pure. “I am broken, wide open. Bleeding everywhere.” Sounds like it should be in a Hawthorne Heights song, right? Ezra sings it in a desperate way that makes you listen and really feel it. If anyone else did it, you’d probably tell them to fuck off. He’s got that loveable quality that is in someone who I really admire, Adam Green. He’s not afraid to be brutally honest. He doesn’t need to create pretentious prose in order for you to listen and to connect. Both are just brilliant musicians and lyricists.
As I listen to Day Of The Dog, it makes me glad that I stumble upon most music by accident. If I’ve not been emailed a band/demo, I usually find something by accident. Sometimes accidents are a good thing. Ezra plays with a glorious fury, and I think it is really clear on the song And Maybe God Is A Train. He’s got a Punk style to his words and music; he unleashes the frustrations of daily life out in a way that I wish I could. Pissed off at the government, lack of opportunities, the way people are shit to each other, the dullness of modern life- he just sums it all up in a way that may seem plain, but it hits you hard. You don’t need to sugarcoat situations at all, a great songwriter knows that. I think Ezra knows that. Slacker/Adria is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, from a brutally honest kind of way. I think it is fair to say that this is probably Day Of The Dog could be the best thing Ezra has done so far.
Ezra is the kind of singer/songwriter those who want to make music should be listening to. He’s got the heart of Punk kid and the soul of a 50s Rock & Roll fanatic. The purity in his music is just magnificent. I’ve not really read any reviews about his music because for the most part, I dislike Music Journalists. The ones who just set up a blog or whatever and slag bands off- piss off. I studied Music Journalism at Uni, and I guess the degree I have serves no purpose, but people like Ezra are the reason as to why I don’t just love music; I need to have music playing. I need to find the next new band/singer that’s going to blow my mind or find an old band that make me realise yet again I was born at the wrong time. I should have been born in ’66 not ’86. I believe if you’re going to write about someone’s music, you should be passionate about it. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. Don’t write vicious words just to seem cool. Share the bands you love, and do it with love. If a band or singer are going to put their all into their music; you, as a writer of music, should put your all into writing about them.
That’s why I respect and admire Ezra. He puts his all into his music and time and time again creates something beautiful. His voice, his music and his words are just perfect and unlike anything else around. Maybe Ezra is a hopeless romantic like the rest of us, but he words it all in a way that makes the pains of everyday life less daunting to carry around. I think Metric summed it up best on their song Front Row, “He’s not perfect, he’s my hero.”