Smoothboi Ezra
Photo: Leon McCullough / Courtesy of 23 Media

Smoothboi Ezra’s “Without Me” Mourns Lost Love

Ireland’s Smoothboi Ezra builds a world out of heartbreak on “Without Me”.

There’s a cyclicality to breaking up that, from the very first lines, Smoothboi Ezra knows all too well: “I thought I was close to healing / Until I saw you this evening.” They’re plain words the Irish non-binary singer builds a world out of—fixated on the other lover, turning over hypotheticals in their mind, cutting their hair to be a new person—where each event becomes a reminder that this isn’t the life you had hoped for, a new iteration of heartbreak. The guitars trudge along and whine dejectedly, flatly; constant pain has a way of numbing everything into apathy.

Everything, of course, except for that one person missing, so when Ezra finally musters the courage to talk to their ex—their voice torn between regret, bitterness, wryness, and sincerity (“I don’t mind / Don’t stop living your life”)—it feels like a storm in comparison. The guitars grind their teeth together, cymbals crash as if they were dream-house windows being shattered. And after taking the blame for the break-up, Ezra is left picking the pieces back up, resigned: “I’ll just sleep alone tonight.”