Songs You May Have Missed #549


Ezra Furman: “Pot Holes” (2015)

It seems every time I begin to feel jaded about new music–thinking nothing will ever again be released but regurgitated tripe–someone like Ezra Furman steps in right on cue to show me there are still new ways to stir the old pot.

The unlikely combination of ingredients here include a punk sensibility and a doo wop arrangement featuring producer Tim Sandusky on sax. It’s like the Del Vikings’ “Whispering Bells” meets the Violent Femmes.

In fact, putting “Pot Holes” up against “Whispering Bells” illustrates just how much of a song you can borrow and still call what you created your own. Although Furman claims the only songwriting credit on “Pot Holes”, the elements of the Pittsburgh group’s 1957 hit–the rhythm, chord progression, sax stylings and even the guitar motif that becomes the “bow-dow-dow-dit-dit-dit” lyric line–all seem to be lifted. (Also tagged in this clip is a familiar 70’s tune with a strikingly similar hook).

Is there a “Blurred Lines”-type lawsuit in Furman’s future?

Nevertheless, this does nothing to diminish my enjoyment of “Pot Holes”. For the adventurous listener and/or anyone who identifies as societal outsider, Furman’s  Perpetual Motion People album is worth the exploration. His frantic energy, musical experimentation, and willingness to let his freak flag fly (that’s him on the cover in the dress and lipstick) blow some dust off pop convention.

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