George Erza: Staying at Tamara’s Album Review

Story posted March 26, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

George Ezra is an English singer-songwriter who made his mainstream debut in 2014 with the release of Wanted on Voyage. Two other EPs, Did You Hear the Rain? and Cassy O’, as well as a popular song on the radio at the time, “Budapest,” rocketed George Ezra to stardom. Throughout his early career, George Ezra had a knack for crafting songs that touched on a lot of things that other mainstream singer-songwriters were writing about, while also keeping each song deeply personal and unique. What resulted was a slew of great songs that were almost always fresh. George Ezra’s sophomore album, Staying At Tamara’s, sees him stepping back a bit from fresh new ideas in favor of a more broadly radio-friendly album.

Gone are the deeply introspective and personal takes on both George Ezra’s life and life in general. Staying at Tamara’s sees Ezra playing it safe. What used to be an outlet to ponder life’s many questions and muse about anecdotes throughout Ezra’s everyday life is now a copy paste effort to secure more radio play. This may not have been Ezra’s intention, but it’s clear the tone of Staying at Tamara’s is much more widely positive than any of his previous work. This unrelenting positivity hurts the overall variety of the project, which is a shame considering Ezra’s skill set. There is not much tonal variety throughout the album and is overall very one note. While it’s disappointing to see Ezra stepping away from his more ambitious ideas, his vocal delivery and ability to soak his voice into the instrumentation is still excellent. While Staying at Tamara’s as a whole is much less creative and ambitious than Ezra’s previous work, there is still enjoyment to be had with this project. Each song is performed and sung fantastically and still showcases George Ezra’s excellent musicianship. However, upon digging past all the catchy lyrics and production, is a decent album at best.

The instrumentation throughout the entirety of the project suffers from the same problems as the rest of the album. While the performances across the album are all excellent, it’s not enough to escape the one-note nature of it all. Ezra’s constant positivity throughout the album is reflected through the instrumentation and suffers because of it. A few songs on the album differ from this upbeat style, such as “The Beautiful Dream” and “Hold My Girl.” These songs take a much slower approach and help give a little variety amidst the rest of the relentlessly upbeat songs.

Unfortunately, these songs are few and far between and don’t do much to help the overall tone of the album. Production has always been one of Ezra’s strong suits and Wanted on Voyage displayed this perfectly. It’s unfortunate to see the lack of variety on Staying at Tamara’s, especially considering how integral variety was to Ezra’s previous work. This is a direct result of Ezra’s more radio-friendly approach.

Overall, Staying at Tamara’s is a decent project with some glaring faults that hold it back from being something special. George Ezra’s unyielding positivity throughout makes the entire project one note and this is reflected in the production. George Ezra is still early on in his career and still has plenty of room to grow. Ezra has stated in interviews in the past that he likes to dedicate ample time to make sure each project he creates is up to his own standards. With more variety in both production and tone, George Ezra’s next album has the potential to be a critically exceptional singer-songwriter project.  

Rating: 6/10

 

Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.