We all need to get away once in a while. Barcelona, Paris, Prague. Sounds lovely.
Getting away allows us to clear our minds and our souls, to reflect and move forward, to sort through the chaos of life. It gives us eyes to see and ears to hear new things. And George Ezra has created the feeling of being in a world away in the creation of his second album, Staying at Tamara’s.
If you’re not familiar with Ezra, perhaps you should be before we continue. Born in 1993 in Hertfordshire, England, this 25- year-old British native came on the scene with his chart topping single, “Budapest” when he was just 21. Ezra’s debut album, Wanted on Voyage, then skyrocketed to success. But despite that album’s title, it wasn’t about the capital of Hungary at all, but rather love.
Now with his second effort, Staying at Tamara’s, he’s back with his deep baritone vocals and infectious folk-pop rhythms (that recall Mumford & Sons), singing about love, travel, escaping reality and being present in the only life we have to live.
In “All My Love,” Ezra fully commits himself to a woman he adores: “All my love is yours/All my time is ours/All my reckless dreams and/All my restless hours/No matter where you go, babe/I’ll be there.” And again in “Paradise,” he says that when he’s with this special someone, life is perfect. He tells a woman that even if “those other boys” said they loved her, with him “it’s real.”
In “The Beautiful Dream” and “Sugarcoat,” Ezra’s beloved is the only one he wants to be with. Likewise, in “Hold My Girl,” we hear, “I’ve been waiting for you/To come around and tell me the truth/’Bout everything that you’re going through.”
Many of Ezra’s songs deal with escaping from the chaos of the present world and retreating to a place away from technology and anxiety. He says in “Don’t Matter Now,” “Sometimes you need to be alone/It don’t matter now/Shut the door, unplug the phone … /Build a castle out of sand” and do whatever it takes to be in the moment, away from distractions. The same themes are echoed in songs such as “Shotgun,” “Get Away” and “Pretty Shining People.”
Meanwhile, “Only a Human” encourages us to recognize that we all mess up: “But you can’t blame yourself, no, you’re just human.”
In “The Beautiful Dream,” “Hold My Girl” and “Sugarcoat,” Ezra sings about being alone with his lover, often suggesting that he’s in bed with her. “Yeah, we stayed at Joanna’s for a night or two/Though she never really saw us/We were too consumed/We never really even got to see the place” (“Sugarcoat”). And in “Shotgun,” Ezra’s vision of getting away includes “deep-sea diving round the clock, bikini bottoms/Lager tops.”
One song, “Only a Human,” includes an f-word, while “Saviour” misuses Jesus’ name once.
When “Budapest” landed here in the United States, I was immediately hooked. In a world of music where sounds sometimes seem far too similar, George Ezra offered something very different, both lyrically and stylistically. I loved his songs about travelling, because they encapsulated that dreamy feeling of wanderlust.
With this second album he’s done it again. This time, though, his sound has matured, and his themes have too. When it came to making this album, Ezra said that he needed to get away from the mundane and the distractions of home. So he headed to Barcelona, rented a room, and forced himself to be among a different people, different sounds and a different culture. Staying at Tamara’s reflects that adventure.
As musical escapes go, this one gets a mixed review. Ezra indulges a couple harsh profanities and croons suggestively about intimate time with his girlfriend. But he also emphasizes the importance of being fully present, something that gives us time to relax, appreciate life and fully commit to those we love the most.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, loving raising their little guy, Judah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).