At last, I’m in the land of George Ezra.
Here I bask in the sun rays filtering through the bowside window of a 1960s Catamaran moored at Blakeney Point, England, listening to my boyfriend’s voice waft in from the front deck: “The south of the equator, navigate it/Gotta hit the road, gotta hit the road…”
Never mind that it’s the water we’ll be hitting. I’m finally living the romantic dream George Ezra sings to life.
The song my boyfriend, Ollie, is singing is called “Shotgun,” and it’s one of the title tracks from George Ezra’s latest album, Staying at Tamara’s. The 25-year-old singer’s second studio album dropped in March of this year and reached No. 1 in the UK and made top ten in eight other countries.
The first song I heard from the album was “Paradise,” compliments of Ollie’s Auntie Amy. She said it was our song: “I know you heard it from those other boys/But this time it’s real/It’s something that I feel and … If it feels like paradise running through your bloody veins/You know it’s love heading your way.”
Ollie summed up the song well: “It encapsulates the wild feeling of being in love.”
From the first time I heard the deep, rich voice and waiting-for-what-happens-next beats, I knew two things: One, Amy was right, “Paradise” is our song. And two: I needed to download the entirety of George Ezra’s album, stat.
Upon downloading the album, I realized I’d known one George Ezra song prior to”Paradise” – “Budapest.” You might recognize it as well, although I’ve been surprised at how many American friends didn’t know the song: “And baby if you hold me/Then all of this will go away…”
It’s a fantastic song, and I was glad to fall in love with it again. I’d pegged “Budapest” as a one hit wonder until I heard “Paradise,” then “Shotgun,” and then every single song on George’s new album.
A bit more on “Shotgun.” It’s an absolute summertime anthem. This tune resonates as the perfect soundtrack for cruising toward a day on the beach or a picnic in the park: “If you need me you know where I’ll be/I’ll be riding shotgun underneath the hot sun/Feeling like a someone…”
This song does make me feel like a someone: The smart (British use of the word), sexy girl in the crisp red bandana and posh Ray Bans with her springy ringlets glossily streaming in the wind as her dark-eyed, long-lashed lover steers a vintage BMW convertible along winding coastline country roads, one hand on her leg, one on the wheel.
The album’s other must-listens (if I can’t just say all 11 songs) are: “All My Love,” “Sugarcoat,” “Hold My Girl,” “Get Away,” and “Only Human.”
If “Paradise” wasn’t already mine and Ollie’s song, then “All My Love” would be. I sent it to him immediately – urgently – as soon as I heard it: “All my love is yours/All my time is ours/All my reckless dreams/And all my restless hours.”
This song hit a real chord with me. Ollie is Australian, and I’m American (we met earlier this year walking the Camino in Spain). The four months we spent apart between the Camino and our UK reunion (his mum is English, and so we have his English family to thank for our shared obsession with George Ezra), made me feel our love was indeed a reckless – if unstoppable – dream and the endless hours we spent apart were nothing if not restless. Now that we’re together again, time is, blissfully, ours, and I thank George Ezra for capturing that sentiment.
“Sugarcoat” is another one to send your love – “I don’t even wanna go out tonight/No, I’ve got you by my side/I don’t even need to sugarcoat it, girl/No, I’ve got you by my side, by my side” … with a note of amorous necessity to just jump in to true love: “It’s a big jump, big jump/Pull yourself together, boy/Big jump, big jump/You haven’t got forever, boy.”
“Hold My Girl” is exactly the song you want to listen to while doing just that, kissing the top of her head, stroking her hair, and holding her close:
“Get Away” hits home for any of us who find ourselves overwhelmed in today’s stressful world: “It’s never been this way before/Shut down by anxiety/It’s never been this way before/You’d better get away, boy.” The song’s message is all too poignant, reminding us to notice how our circumstances affect us–and if the effect isn’t positive, to get away from the cause.
I’ll leave you with “Only Human,” which instills a comforting teaching we all would do well to remember – that it’s okay to mess up, and to not beat ourselves up too much in the process.
I only can hope Americans take a leaf out of the UK’s musical program and catch onto the British sensation – the simultaneously catchy, poppy, deep and sublime singer – who is George Ezra.
If I wasn’t already in love – and using his songs to express myself to my love – I reckon I’d fall in love with George Ezra himself for vocalizing so many of the feelings I’ve felt that he seems to say better than I ever could.