Showing posts with label Better Than Ezra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Better Than Ezra. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

25 Deep Cuts from the Golden Age of Alternative Rock

Earlier this week I posted my list of the 100 Greatest Songs from the Golden Age of Alternative Rock. The mid nineties was a time when the music business was so prosperous that even minimal effort could result in a Gold record. I doubt anyone outside of the Deal family could name a second song by The Breeders yet Last Splash still went platinum. I contributed to many of those RIAA certifications (R.I.P. BMG 10 albums for a penny deals that they kept letting you quit and renew for a new batch of albums).

1. Anna Begins – Counting Crows: Not only one of my favorite deep cuts from the era, but one of my favorite songs ever in the history of the world. “Every time she sneezes I believe it is love” meant everything to me in my youth. Still does.

2. The World Has Turned and Left Me Here – Weezer: The Blue Album had the most songs of any album on my list as every song is great. This is my favorite of the rest, just another great teenage anthem.

3. Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana: Quite possibly the greatest performance ever to air on MTV Unplugged.

4. Warehouse – Dave Matthew Band: Record companies are usually good at releasing singles, but for some reasons the singles off of Dave Matthews Band albums are never my favorites. Ants Marching may be my fifth favorite song off their major label debut. The best is Warehouse which only get more epic when you hear it live. And thanks for the band’s penchant for releasing live albums, which will be easy to find because even though they always switch up set lists, there is always a good chance that this song will be represented.

5. Bad Habit – The Offspring: The ultimate road rage song. I probably listened to it way too much while learning to drive.

6. Immortality – Pearl Jam: No list is perfect and my own personal eyeballing of mine is there could have been a lot more Pearl Jam. It is probably after the success of the first album, they decided to step back from the spotlight not making music video or releasing proper singles leaving individual radio station to play their own favorites. Immortality is just the kind of mood I am in right now, but anything on those next two albums is worth checking out.

7. Let Me In – R.E.M.: Those first three R.E.M. albums from the nineties are worth checking out, this is probably the best track on their most fuzzed out album of the trio.

8. Happy Endings – Better than Ezra: I recently read an article where the lead singer suggested that they may have had Goo Goo Doll’s career had they been on a better record label and not one that went under. As a owner of all their albums sans their last I would have to agree as they made some of the best adult contemporary music of the past decade. You can hear them go down that root on songs like this.

9. Sad Songs and Waltzes – Cake: The band had a minor hit with their I Will Survive cover, another stand out on the same album was this Willie Nelson classic. The irony of course was during the alt-rock era, depressing songs were all the rage.

10. I'm the Ocean – Neil Young: The godfather of grunge hooked up with Pearl Jam and made an album which sounded exactly like you expected. This seven minute epic without a chorus is the highlight of the Mirror Ball album.

11. I Love You Mary Jane – Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill: When I first started working on my list I considered some more “alternative” rap song like Insane in the Brain. Instead I will include Cypress Hill’s awesomely weird collaboration with Sonic Youth for the Judgment Night Soundtrack where the two bonded over their love of the sticky icky. The song worked a lot better than their track with Pearl Jam.

12. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins: In the of the alt-rock heyday, who would have expected the Smashing Pumpkins to start their double album with a sweet, well, melon collie, piano-based instrumental.

13. Sir Psycho Sexy – Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Peppers are weird to begin with, but this was easily their most bizarre track from Blood Sugar Sex Magic. The teenage version of myself loved the lady cop verse.

14. Slide Away – Oasis: That first album was brit-pop gold, this was definitely my favorite non-single.

15. The Wanderer – U2: Nirvana gets a lot of credit for the start of the alt-rock era, but with Achtung Baby, U2 was getting weird at the same time. They got even weirder on Zoorepa which ended with a country euro-trash song featuring Johnny Cash on vocals, a year before his carreer got resurrected with the American Recordings series.

16. Swing On This - Alice In Chains: Who would have guessed Alice in Chain would ever release a song that was actually danceable?

17. Pillar of Davidson – Live: There were plenty of epic songs on Throwing Copper, this song may have actually been the most epic.

18. Bogusflow – Beck: DGC Rarities vol. 1 was a must own by any alt-rock fan with plenty of rare gems. At the time, Beck was heading for one hit wonderdom and this drunken Bob Dylan type song was not going to help him out of that label but was awesome nonetheless. I am still waiting for vol. 2.

19. Mad Dog 20 / 20 – Teenage Fanclub: Fun fact: The first legal drink I ever bought was Mad Dog 20/20. I cannot confirm nor deny it is because of this song.

20. April 29, 1992 (Miami) – Sublime: Humorously the band actually got the date wrong in the actual lyrics song (April 26), legend has it that the take with the mistake was the best so they kept it.

21. Steven's Last Night In Town – Ben Folds Five: There were not many New Orleans inspired tracks during the alt rock era, but this one was really good.

22. Brother – Toad the Wet Sprocket: This was off their “rarities” album which was one of the few albums that was just as good as the “proper” albums in an artist discography.

23. Price to Pay – Blues Traveler: Just great storytelling in this song and of course plenty of harmonica.

24. Carrion – Fiona Apple: The big hits of this album were song of Fiona’s more angry songs; I also appreciate her more subtle songs like this one.

25. Nada – The Refreshments: In the introduction I mentioned how easy it was to get a Gold album, this is one of the few bands from the time that did not manage one and I am not sure why, I really enjoyed both of their albums. Maybe too southern and not enough alternative in their rock. And then too weird for the country crowd. Nada was a great way to end that first album.

Honorable Mentions

Shamrocks and Shenanigans (Butch Vig Mix) – House of Pain: Another rap song I considered for this list, but the Butch Vig version. Vig was fresh from producing Nevermind and a few years away from becoming a founding member of Garbage and gave an alt-rock bent to the song.

Iron Man – The Cardigans: I considered a couple songs by the band for this list but Lovefool was a bit too poppy and Been It just missed the cut (had I expanded the end date by a year, My Favorite Mistake would definitely made the list). But the album was much more weird and darker than you would expect from the group that brought you Lovefool, case in point this trippy cover of the Black Sabbath song.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Feed Your iPod LXXVI: Breathless

Last week I went down the rabbit hole that is Spotify’s 90’s radio station which was quite addicting as it kept playing great songs from my formative years. Sure I wish it played more rap than it did (it probably did not help that I kept down-voting the “amended” versions; of course they probably played the amended versions instead of the explicit versions already on my computer so Spotify could play more ads because they are shady like that). One song that really stood out from the rest during this time was Desperately Wanting by Better Than Ezra. They were one of my favorite groups from that era and I own all of their albums except the most recent (it was kind of eh) but have not dusted them off in a couple year and had to take the weekend revisiting them. Sadly the group has not had a hit since the nineties; they did have a couple pop culture moments over the past decade. Juicy, which never was one of my favorites, was used in ads for the second season of Desperate Housewives.

Then in 2010, in lieu of playing one of her own songs, Taylor Swift chose to perform an obscure track by the band Breathless for the Hope for Haiti telethon, a song that closed out their Before the Robots album. I remember prior to the telethon wonder what she would would perform before none of her songs have the emotional weight that songs on these specials tend to have. I did not recognize it at first, thinking it may have been one of hers I had not heard before, but it started to spark a memory by the time she hit the chorus that it was the Better Than Erza song that probably no one knew of unless they owned their album. It was a perfect choice by Taylor, it is a simple song in her wheelhouse with an uplifting message that fit the occasion very well. Unfortunately the song is no longer available on iTunes so you are stuck with a crappy YouTube version if you did not buy it earlier, but you should definitely pick up the original. As for Better than Erza, my sources tell me the group is working on their seventh album would could see the light by the end of this year. Now if you excuse me, I need to dust off my Blues Traveler CD’s.

Breathless – Better Than Erza

Breathless Taylor Swift

Saturday, May 30, 2009

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. LXXXII

Quote of the Week: I guess I’m never gonna go to Cleveland. (Mike, Rescue Me)

Big News of the Week: Showtime Does Some Casting: Following last week’s announcement that Alanis Morissette would guest star on the upcoming fifth season of Weeds (which will also feature Jennifer Jason Leigh) as Nancy’s obstetrician, Dr. Audra Kitson, comes news that John Lithgow will be appearing in all twelve episodes Dexter. He will be playing Miami’s latest serial killer, the Trinity Killer who likes to kill in threes, naturally. The fourth season of Dexter premieres Sunday, September 27 while Weeds returns Monday June 8. If your are too cheap to subscribe like me, their latest DVD’s are coming soon, Weeds 4.x is out this Tuesday but you will have to wait until August for Dexter 3.x. Both will also be available on Blu-Ray.

Coalition Links of the Week:
Buzz counted down the top 10 reasons she's keeping her TV on this summer. (BuzzSugar)

This week, Sandie interviewed Amy Ryan who plays the adorable Holly on The Office. (Daemon's TV)

This week, Jace reviewed the full pilot episodes of such series as ABC's Eastwick, FOX's Human Target, and ABC's The Deep End. (Televisionary)

Dan came across this bizarre video of Heroes' Zachary Quinto getting doused with milk. He wants to know what could be done to make the erstwhile Mr. Sylar less sexy in this video. (TiFaux)

Matt isn't good at math, but Edie Falco + a drug-addicted, well-intentioned nurse = must-see viewing of Nurse Jackie. (TV Fanatic).

Greek: I never really understood the all nighter, I always valued a fresh mind from a good night’s sleep as apposed to cramming at the last minute. Granted, I have to admit I tried osmosis on more than one occasion. You can stream current episodes over at You can also download Greek on iTunes.

Charm School with Ricki Lake: I really hate these eliminations where they don’t actually eliminate anyone that they pull on reality shows. And when people leave you can smell the non-eliminations miles away. That is why Survivor remains the best, when they have an unexpected exit, Probst just says no tribal council and that is that. Going through all the pomp and circumstance and not eliminate anyone is just cheap. You can also download I Love Money on iTunes.

Rescue Me: As bad as it sounds, much like Lou I prefer the drinking Tommy Gavin above the sober one. And that bar scene is pretty much the reason why as it is nice to see our dearly departed again. Although Conner got real old real quick. You can stream current episodes over at Hulu.

Rescue Me on iTunes

Free Download of the Week: Absolutely Still - Better Than Ezra (Amazon MP3) - Paper Empire may be the weakest Better Than Erza album to date as most songs are just mediocre pop, but at least the lead single is free.

Deal of the Week: Buy More Lost on Blu-ray, Save More

Video of the Week: NBC launches three new shows this week, certainly everyone is aware of Conan O’Brien taking over The Tonight Show (click the link for an advanced look at his new set) and I will spare you the Spencer Pratt rap for the reboot of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! The other show is The Listener debuting this Thursday at 10:00. Below is a promo:

Next Week Pick of the Week: Royal Pains, Thursday at 10:00 on USA: A decent enough first episode airs this Thursday with a seventy-five minute limited commercial run. Look out for a full review sometime before then.

I will also like to point out Monday June 1st, Dave Matthews Band will be streaming a concert on Hulu. Look for a review of Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King later that week.

Dave Matthews Band on iTunes

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Radio in My Head, Radio in that Car

Friction, Baby - Better Than Ezra

At the turn of every decade it seems like radio dumps anything associated with the previous one looking for something new to define the next one. Then the band has to sit out ten years and hope to join the greatest hits circuit when nostalgia starts to set in. Sadly Better Than Ezra got lost in the shuffle even though they continue to put out solid album after solid album. Their best of which is this month’s selection for the Scooter Hall of Fame.

The band made a name for themselves thanks to the Adam Sandler assisted Good, but the group perfected their sound on their second album, Friction, Baby. The album starts off with the bombast rock of King of New Orleans. But the hit was Desperately Wanting, the greatest rock song ever about complications from a pregnancy.

(Scooter’s Note: I wrote this a while ago and planned a couple more paragraphs but haven’t the time. I may come back and finish it later.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Car Mix: November 2006

Every once in a while I like to compile a list of songs that I’m currently listening to onto a CD to make drive time a little more bearable so I can avoid hearing that chain hang low song one more time on the radio. So here are some suggestions of songs that you should be listening to these days. This CD comes in at 76:09.

1. When You Were Young (2006 MTV Video Music Awards) - The Killers (Okay so I may have been harsh on the Vegas boys, see Nobody Ever Had a Dream Round Here, but this is one of the best rock songs of the year and one of the few good performances at the VMA’s this year)
2. God’s Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash (See the great video: Go Tell That Long Tongue Liar, Go and Tell that Midnight Rider; also check out my album review: He Said “John Go Do My Will”)
3. Goodbye Earl - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (See my album review: Yippee-I-Yah Yippee-I-Yo)
4. Call Me When You’re Sober - Evanescence (See my album review: I Want to Stay in Love with My Sorrow)
5. Wine Red - The Hush Sound (A wrongfully overlooked ditty from the summer. If you have .99 burning a hole in your pocket, it’s worth the download)
6. Smile - Lily Allen (I know I’ve been waxing poetic about Ms. Allen for a while and hopefully you picked up this song when it was free over at iTunes; and just remember where you first heard of her when she hits it big here in the States)
7. Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado (See my album review: I've Been Hurt by My Past but I Feel the Future)
8. I Wish I Was a Punk Rock Girl (With Flowers in My Hair) - Sandi Thom (See the video: When They Own the Information They Can Bend it All They Want)
9. Under the Weather - KT Tunstall (See my album review: Her Face Is the Map of the World)
10. Work it Out - Jurrasic 5 & Dave Matthews (See my abum review: We Would Say Our Rhymes to the Beat Right)
11. Dynamite (Going Postal) - Rhymefest (I can’t believe no one had sampled Jimmy Walker before; see my album review: Who Rapper You Know Before His Album Drop Is a Grammy Winner)
12. Don’t Feel Right - The Roots (See my album review: I'll Make it Hotter than Shaft in Africa)
13. Waiting on the World to Change - John Mayer (See my album review: It’s Not a Silly Little Moment, it’s Not the Calm Before the Storm)
14. The Saints Are Coming (Live from New Orleans) - U2 and Green Day (Finally this song hit iTunes this week and even though it doesn't say so on the page, I believe all proceeds go to Music Rising charity)
15. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol (check out my album review which I published long before any crappy televisions shows co-opted the song: The Final Word in the Final Sentance)
16. Don’t Download This Song - “Weird Al” Yankovic (Of course if you are feeling lucky you can always download the song at
17. Easy - Barenaked Ladies (see my review: Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition II)
18. Juicy - Better Than Ezra (see my album review 3 ½ Minutes, Felt Like a Lifetime)
19. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (The best song of the summer, and the fall for that matter. Be sure to see how high the song land on the Best Songs of 2006 coming next month)
20. Here I Come (Late Show with David Letterman) - The Roots
21. Tribute to Rakin - 2006 Hip-Hop Honors (The best tribute at this year's event.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If You Love Me, Come Find Me

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of . I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Evanescence - Call Me When You're Sober

This is the coolest video based on a children’s story since Tom Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More. Granted I think it’s the only one besides the cheesy claymation video by Green Jello Jelly (am I the only one that remembers it?). This sounds pretty mosh like previous songs so it will be interesting how the rest of the new album sounds without Ben Moody.

Better Than Ezra - Juicy

Please don’t think less of because this song was featured in a Desperate Housewives commercial last year. I do kind of wonder if the line dancing older woman is a slight jab at the show, so in a way, they may have redeemed themselved.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me Baby

Now that there really isn’t an outlet for music videos, more and more of them have gone with cost efficient video, it seems to spawn creativity especially with the surprising some fans by jamming with them. Interestingly enough this video was directed by the Dayton/Farris team that was behind 90’s iconic high concept videos by the Peppers and Smashing Pumpkin among others

OK Go - Here it Goes Again

Speaking of low budgets, this could possibly be the lamest video I have ever seem, yet I couldn’t stop watching the dancing fools of .

Everclear - Hater

Here’s a video for those that subscribe to Us Weekly or watch too much of the E! channel. I’m not the biggest fan of salacious news, but I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the video. Yeah a few of the break-up’s were a while ago and I’m not sure why brought up such forgettable break-up’s by Joey and Phil Collins (is there a good story behind that one that I missed?).

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Best Albums of 2005

Just before Christmas I handed out my worst albums of the year and now it’s time for the best ones. It was a dog fight for number one as there were only two albums that got the coveted Extreme Warning on my Terror Alert Scale. Both were worthy but I went with the one that always finds its way into my CD player while the other has a song or two that I will occasionally skip while listening to. For those that are interested to check these albums on the list out, the link on the album goes directly to iTunes while the links in the parentheses go to my original reviews. Feel free to leave some of your favorite albums of the past year in the comment section.

1. Wreck of the Day – Anna Nalick (These Words Are My Diary Singing Out Load)
2. Late Registration – Kanye West (You Gotta Love it Though Someone Still Speaks From His Soul)
3. Songs for Silverman – Ben Folds (If You Wrote Me Off I’d Understand It)
4. Room Noises – Eisley (You Humor Me Today)
5. Stand Up – Dave Matthews Band (Bring That Beat Back To Me Again)
6. Plans – Death Cab for Cutie (A Melody Softly Souring Through My Atmosphere)
7. In Between Dreams – Jack Johnson (We Drew Our Own Constellations)
8. Before the Robots – Better Than Ezra (3 ½ Minutes Felt Like a Lifetime)
9. Why Should the Fire Die? - Nickel Creek (You Came Along and Made Me Smile)
10. Get Lifted – John Legend (We’re Just Ordinary People)
11. Extraordinary Machine – Fiona Apple (I Promise You Everything Will Be Just Fine)
12. TwentythreePrettyman – Tristan Prettyman (I Wish You Couldn’t Take Your Eyes Off of Me)
13. The Breakthrough – Mary J. Blige (Anyone Who’s Ever Loved You Know Just What I Feel)
14. Hot Fuss: Limited Edition – The Killers ( I Got Soul But I’m Not a Soldier)
15. Everything in Transit – Jack’s Mannequin (I’ll Send This Message Through the Speakers)
16. Slow Motion – David Gray ( A Bucketful of Babylon)
17. Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ – Anthony Hamilton (If You Catch Me Dreaming, Please Don’t Wake Me Till I’m Done)
18. 29 – Ryan Adams (Can You Still Have Any Famous Last Words if You’re Somebody Nobody Knows)
19. A Time to Love – Stevie Wonder (We Can’t Sing a Song With No Melody)
20. Back Home – Eric Clapton (I Need to Hear That Song)
21. Try! – John Mayer Trio (Am I the One Who Plays the Quiet Songs?)
22. X&Y – Coldplay (All That Noise, All That Sound)
23. Out of Nothing – Embrace (Now Watch Me Rise Up and Leave)
24. The Sound of White – Missy Higgins (I See You’ve Painted Your Soul)
25. All That I Am – Santana (Your Fire Fills My Soul)
26. Oral Fixation vol. 2 – Shakira (What Language Do You Speak if You Speak at All)
27. Wikked Lil’ Grrrls – Esthro (We R in Need of a Musical Revolution)
28. On the Strength of All Convinced – Daphne Loves Derby (What We Have Been Waiting For)
29. Some Hearts – Carrie Underwood (Oh There’s Nothing like Oklahoma)
30. ¡Bastardos! – Blues Traveler (If Looks Could Kill I’d Die Today)

You can also download these albums DRM free at Amazon MP3 by checking out the widget below:

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

3 1/2 Minutes, Felt Like a Lifetime

Before the Robots - Better Than Ezra

One of the very few bands that I own all their albums (of artist that have released three or more) with new material is Better Than Ezra. All their pervious albums still get heavy rotation in my CD player and on my iPod. Today marks the release of their fifth studio album, Before the Robots.

The album starts off with three sing-alongs that BTE is best known for, Burned, Daylight, and A Lifetime. A Lifetime is actually a holdover from their 2001 album, the sadly overlooked Closer. The version on BTR speeds things up a little, and rocks a little more than the original. It also includes the line that has bugged me for a while, "And that R.E.M. song was playing in my mind. Three and half minutes, felt like a lifetime." Looking through my somewhat extensive
R.E.M. library, found that Let Me In off of Monster clocks in at 3:28 and At My Most Beautiful off of Up finishes at the 3:35 mark. Monty Got a Raw Deal, The One I Love, and Find the River are all close also and might fit the song. (Keep in mind that A Lifetime ends at 3:26.)

Another BTE trademark is that they take some chances and that is found in Its Only Natural, Special, and Juicy. Juicy is the best, a danceable song that is accompanied by a falsetto voice and a driving bass line that make you realize what a modern Bee-Gee's song might sound like is they listen to
Devo or Violent Femmes.

American Dream is the best written song on the album telling the story of a few people that haven't achieved the American Dream yet. In this Red State/Blue State time, the lines, "I'm a little bit rebel, I'm a bit patriot. I can see both sides of the coin" probably describes most of America while our government is littered with fanatics on both side of the fence. A Southern Thang lives up to the bill as a southern rock song being that the band is from New Orleans. The song also takes a little of the melody of the David Essex classic, Rock On, during the chorus. They even namedrop the King of Delta Blues himself,
Robert Johnson in the song.

Song to Download - Daylight

Before the Robots gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Car Mix - April '05

1. Beverly Hills – Weezer (Check out my thought on this song at Just Don't Bring too Many Dudes.)
Club Foot – Kasabian (This song seems to popping up during all my favorite TV shows lately and was a former single of the week on iTunes.)
City of Blinding Light – U2
4. Work (Demo) – Jimmy Eat World (This was on the special edition version of JEW's latest album that I picked up as I'm a sucker for things of that nature. The song's a rawer version of the original.)
Back to Me – Kathleen Edwards (This was another great Single of the Week. It's a neo-country song, but not in the "My sister looks hot" kind of country.)
Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson (This is the second song that she has conned me into liking. To be honest, it might be time for someone to hold an intervention for me.)
Be the Girl – Aslyn
Somebody – Bonnie McKee
A Lifetime – Better Than Ezra (From the guys that brought us Good, yet another solid song. BTE is one of the few bands to constantly put out good music.)
Telescope Eyes – Eisley
11. Toxic – Local H (A disturbingly faithful cover of the Brittany Spears song from the band best known for the mid-90's rocker, Bound to the Floor. Yet not even the best cover on this CD. That title goes to:)
(expletive deleted) Ain’t (expletive deleted) – Ben Folds (Due to the website's censors, I need to explain this. The song is a moody, piano driven version of the last song on Dr. Dre's first album which features Snoop Doggy Dogg. If you are not sure what I'm talking about, click the link and take a listen for yourself. This is the very reason that makes iTunes great. Due to the lyric, the song won't be played on the radio and it wouldn't fit very well on an album, so iTunes is a great place to get this type of music.)
Landed – Ben Folds
Chariot – Gavin DeGraw
Ordinary People – John Legend
16. All Falls Down – John Legend & Kanye West (A great live version of the song.)
1 Thing – Amerie (The best song from a Will Smith movie since, umm, does the Theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air count?)
Gotta Get Up from Here – Ellie Lawson (This song has a cool Celtic feel to it.)
When the President Talks to God – Bright Eyes (A thoroughly amusing, yet sad at the same time, song you can get free the last time I checked at iTunes. Something everyone should take a listen to, which is easy because it's free. Who doesn't like free?)
Coconut – Harry Nilsson (A completely cheesy song that recently got co-opted by Coke. I've loved the song ever since it appeared on the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.)