Deluxe

Better Than Ezra

A quarter of a century later, Better Than Ezra's Deluxe still has that familiar 90s rock band led by an acoustic guitar playing lead singer who writes more authentic lyrics and possesses less shrill vocals than his/her 80s predecessor feel to it.

Good is the best that Deluxe gets, allowing Better Than Ezra to tour forever.

One thing that is amazing about Better Than Ezra is that I recall them being a bit harder than they really were. In no way were they known for their intricate guitar work, blazing solos, bass slapping, or thunderous drumming. That’s not to say I thought they were Soundgarden, but man, Dishwalla (Pet Your Friends) rocks way harder than the boys of BTE.

Rating

I give Deluxe a 6.7510

Better Than Ezra Deluxe album cover
BTE drops a really good album

Deluxe track listing

  1. In the Blood
  2. Good
  3. Southern Gürl
  4. The Killer Inside
  5. Rosealia
  6. Cry in the Sun
  7. Teenager
  8. Ether
  9. Summerhouse
  10. Porcelain
  11. Heaven
  12. This Time of Year
  13. Coyote

Deluxe notes

In the Blood

A better song than Good. There, I said it.

In the Blood is Deluxe’s Somebody to Shove (Grave Dancer’s Union). It is to Good what Somebody to Shove is to Runaway Train.

Griffin wrote a really great tune to lead off Deluxe.

Good

The hit. Good was just hard enough to catch my attention when I took a moment to turn In Utero, Vs., and Purple down.

Bridge key change!

yeeeeeeah, that’s right!

Southern Gürl

Southern Gürl employs the Motley Crüe umlaut, the most famous of all umlauts.

Griffin is quite insistent about wanting and needing a Southern Gürl. Throws in a bendy outro solo that’s pining, before switching on the crystals effect (i think) on the reverb pedal to walk the song out.

The Killer Inside

Clean guitars roll out a descending arpeggio. Toss in some organ swells, and then some spaghetti western lead guitar work, and you have The Killer Inside. You know, before the introspective bass that precedes verse 2 and Lili Haydn’s succinct violin work.

Rosealia

A song about abuse and pain. Rosealia, in lyrical content, melody, and instrumentation, would fit right in within the 90s Tempe scene. Which is quite fitting, as Griffin was living in Santa Fe, NM when wrote it.

If Rosealia had appeared on New Miserable Experience (Gin Blossoms) or Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy (The Refreshments), would you be surprised? The answer is no. It has the chime-y guitars, the lonely harmonica, and the tough, grinding lyrics.

Cry in the Sun

Cry in the Sun is the song template for every single singer-songwriter that toured on college entertainment budgets in the late 90s/early 2000s and fancied themselves a modern day Dylan, but with smoother vocals.

Griffin pens perhaps the lightest-hearted break up tune of the 90s with Cry in the Sun. Buoyed by Walt Thompson’s 70s-style organ work on the old Hammond, Cry in the Sun could easily have charted on the adult contemporary chart. Also fairly certain My Friend Steve wrote the sequel a couple of years later named All in All off of Hope & Wait.

Teenager

Teenager is a good rock tune with complimentary interplay between the bass and guitar. It’s got a good groove without diming the amps.

Ether

Ambient music that is a bit discordant, with interesting guitar dives/power outages. Ether ends abruptly.

Summerhouse

Bassist Tom Drummond finally rubs some dirt on his 4 string. If Rosealia is about abuse and pain, Summerhouse feels like the retaliation.

Love the descending double bends.

If I were trying to restock Summerhouse as a single at Newbury Comics in the 90s, I’d have filed it under alt-prog-surf.

Is that a thing?

Porcelain

Melanie Owen’s backing vocals are the strongest part of Porcelain.

Heaven

The mid 90s adored clean electric guitars. If you told me that Heaven was a Toad the Wet Sprocket song, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

Engaging reverse functionality on the delay pedal. Commence!

This Time of Year

This Time of Year is vintage BTE. Griffin’s vocals are memorable, based on timbre alone.

Coyote

Another song that could have been on Fizzy Fuzzy. Crossing state lines, coyotes, Southwestern landmarks … all I’m waiting on is the heavy boozin’!

Coyote is perfect for a road trip packed with sleeping bags, hatchets, and one match to get the campfire going.