Album Review: Staying at Tamara's

words by Ava Butera

Alternative and pop music’s favorite solo artist, George Ezra is alive and well.

I was not expecting to appreciate Staying at Tamara’s as much as I did, but I was pleased with what this album contained. I have been in love with Mr. Ezra since the first moment I heard the acoustic guitar-driven track, “Budapest” way back in 2014. Regardless, Ezra’s 2015 debut, Wanted on Voyage, definitely resined with me and I still, to this day, play the album in full and never seem to grow tired.

    Ezra’s music is truly timeless, to say the least. His debut release is one of my favorite albums ever and I, for a bit, thought that with such success of the debut, that Ezra would make a slow return to the music scene and not have as big of a success as he did. However, our boy George indeed did not release a sophomore slump, but instead released a possible Grammy contender. (Don’t quote me on that last portion)

    On my flight back home to Miami, I downloaded Staying at Tamara’s in hopes of finding some new material to vibe to throughout April. When absorbing an album for the first time in full, I try my best to just sit down alone and take in the music in its truest form and in the way the track listing is set, meaning not shuffled. The opening track, “Pretty Shining People,” discusses someone overcoming hardships. Although this was a single released, I never listened to the track, but after hearing it for the first time, I was thoroughly interested to hear what Ezra had in store for the rest of the album.

    Again, I was skeptical of this sophomore release and was not sure if Ezra would switch up his signature cozy, folky, homegrown, raw yet polished sound or keep with what he knew best. The first single from the album, “Don’t Matter Now,” sounded pretty Ezra-esque when I first heard his performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Sure a couple group vocals were added along with some blaring trumpets, but the track was still very ‘George Ezra’. However, when the track was released, Ezra still seemed to be flying under the radar and at the time I believed that this track was just a single left over from Wanted on Voyage. But, this upbeat track fits quite nicely on Staying at Tamara’s whether it was a track from Wanted on Voyage that didn’t make it or not.

    The next two tracks, “Get Away” and “Shotgun,” are super fun and summery, yet when you examine the lyrics, they still hold immense meaning. “Shotgun” is definitely my favorite song on the entire record. The bass is extremely prevalent and funky, the percussion is on point, the lyrics are super fun and upbeat; Ezra’s vocals tie the entire ensemble together. Sorry I lied, I actually love the next track, “Paradise” a lot… like a lot. George sounds AMAZING on this song. The way he says certain words, repeats them periodically, and sounds as if he is almost adlibbing, all are portions of this song that somehow make it feel super cohesive.

   Songs one to seven present classic Ezra in upbeat fashion and the album looks as if it’s going to just be a fun release. That is, until you stumble upon “Hold My Girl.” This song is an acoustically clad one, with Ezra slowly singing the tragically beautiful song that also features various string instrument moments. The duration of the album contains many slower songs, proving to be vastly different than the entire beginning. The last four songs seem as if they’re on a completely album, but with Ezra, this odd block placement works.

   Whether you’ve been patiently waiting for George to drop new music since Wanted on Voyage came out or you thoroughly enjoyed his latest release, I believe that there’s something for everyone on Staying at Tamara’s. In my eyes, George Ezra is only capable of good things. Therefore, I highly recommend this album. Go listen to it. NOW!