Good afternoon, all tremendous; all humbling adjectives; all live and let live. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.
I’m not sure how to start this particular entry. I want to talk about nothing but music and yet I don’t want to be flip about what follows. This is a serious essay on what it means to be a true artist in the days of bubblegum garbage, Popular deceit and, otherwise, of a saturated scene of derivative, trite, and altogether forgettable music with a lower case m. I want to talk about one artist in particular whose moment in the sun is coming on quick, some eight years after his first release, which is spinning as I write this.
I want to talk about Ezra Furman.
I’ll keep it as brief as is possible.
Ezra is a man who is somewhat of an anomaly in this world of Pop Culture, which generally begets secular deceit: whatever that means is whatever, but Ezra wears his religion as a badge of honor, as he reportedly seeks out Temples in whatever city he finds himself in; sings about being Jewish in equal parts as proclaiming his love for his $5 dress which he wears onstage without any trace of irony, which, in and of itself is both hilarious and empowering. And though he isn’t the first to wear such clothes, and though he isn’t the first to paint on makeup, he, again, does so without pretense, underscoring his general air of manic energy with a breeze of strangeness which is positively refreshing. He is a 21st Century man of the utmost appeal.
It helps that his music is fucking incredible.
And that’s really what I should be talking about. Hell, I’ve been a fanatic since I first heard Inside The Human Body some six years ago, falling quickly for “The Worm In The Apple” while soon acquiring his previous album, Banging Down The Doors, which, again, is currently playing at top volume. I’m not worried about bothering my neighbors. Because if they don’t like this music, then fuck them. They’re idiots. Or, at least, seriously missing out on the zeitgeist.
Or, perhaps not. Perhaps that’s really my point. Not many people have heard Ezra’s music. But that’s about to change. Because since he disbanded the Harpoons, putting out a couple solo albums and, now with the Boyfriends, he has only become more of who he is, completely setting aside popular opinion on what music Should be and, instead, making music that he wants to make, simultaneously creating music that Music Should Be. He plays Rock and Roll, people. He plays it with a vengeance. And, goddamnit, he writes such brilliant Lyrics, it almost wouldn’t matter if he just sat and played his songs. He doesn’t do that. He plays Rock and Roll. And he embodies everything that’s true about that music which changed the world some 60 years ago and which continues to make, in the words of Joan Jett, I believe, though I’m paraphrasing, perpetual teenagers of us all. Equal parts Fun and cerebral. That’s Music.
With a capital M.
So I want to say thank you, Ezra. Keep it up. Your day is near.
Be ready to join the ranks of the greatest artists of our time.
You deserve it.
Hell, you’re already there. The world needs to catch up, perhaps. But you’re already there.
Until next time.