30 songs in 30 days: #10 – Juarez (Better Than Ezra)

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep

Music and sleep don’t usually mix for me. I like to be engaged in what I’m listening to, which is hard to do if it’s making me lose consciousness. But if I ever do want a soundtrack as I fall asleep, it’ll be “Juarez” by Better Than Ezra. It’s a sharp contrast to just about any other song they’ve put out, with their jangling pop-rock guitars, jazz-infused drums, and NOLA flair. A lazy, shimmering intro slides blissfully into a warm, comfortable bass line accented by minimal percussion. When singer Kevin Griffin wakes from his own nap to whisper, “Worn out in Juarez,” he forsakes his trademark nasal twang (see their breakout hit “Good” for a prime example), dropping about two octaves to a breathy murmur. Kevin’s lyrics paint that quintessential portrait of a band on the road, cities and highways blurring together after months of touring, but the general mood could apply to anyone who’s been traveling far too long. You can almost feel warm afternoon sunshine filtering through a car window as the rumblings of wheels lull you to sleep, feet on the dash and head on the glass. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Mr. Griffin wrote the lyrics while half asleep on the band’s bus, because by the end of the song, I’m craving a nap myself.

(Perhaps appropriately, the only YouTube video I could find for this track has no actual video, just the song playing over a black screen. So feel free to close your eyes and drift off after pressing “play.”)

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