Better Than Ezra Go Back to Basics with “Mystified” [Exclusive Premiere]

Better Than Ezra are “Mystified” in their new song. The alt-rock band released their new single, “Mystified,” on Monday (July 17), premiering exclusively with American Songwriter.

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The song was inspired by a conversation frontman Kevin Griffin had with his wife Erica Krusen about growing up in Topeka, Kansas, and later moving to San Francisco, California, after her father got a new job. Griffin took this story into the writing room with Henry Brill the next day, intrigued by the contradicting cultures of the quiet Midwest and fast-paced San Fransisco.

“That was the seed of the lyrics, taking this wholesome upbringing and then bringing in the seediness and the craziness of the Tenderloin area of San Francisco,” Griffin explains to American Songwriter. “Then taking the archetype of the prom queen, the head cheerleader and the football captain and what happens to them. That it’s always not unicorns and rainbows, and then leaving a lot of that up to the imagination of the listener.”

The song’s essence is captured in the chorus as Griffin passionately sings, I’m mystified/She ain’t Miss America/Won’t be a blushing bride/In my dirty mind/I’m the game-winning quarterback/She’s cheering from the sidelines, over a jubilant pop-rock beat. “Mystified” serves as Better Than Ezra’s first original single since the release of “Grateful” in 2018. They unveiled a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” in 2020 and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” in 2021.

“Mystified” re-introduces the New Orleans-bred band with plenty of guitar work matched with an upbeat melody. “It felt like a great way to say, ‘We know it’s been a long time since we’ve put out new music, but here is this,'” Griffin says of the “super anthemic” new song. “It’s everything Better Than Ezra is. It’s a song that we love as a band.”

Fans can expect to hear “Mystified” when Better Than Ezra sets off on their summer tour with Train, along with headlining dates in between. The band will embark on the Return of the Legends of the Fall 2023 Tour in November, performing a mix of hits with fan favorites and cover songs. “It’s gonna be old and new, and some twists and turns,” Griffin hints. “We love making people happy they came to the show.”

Better Than Ezra hits the road beginning on Tuesday (July 18) at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Robby Klein/Courtesy of Sweet Talk Publicity

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