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It doesn’t feel like that long ago when George Ezra released his first studio album Wanted on Voyage, topping the charts with the single ‘Budapest’. Last March, almost four years later, Ezra released his second studio album, Staying at Tamara’s. During the summer we have all heard some of his songs on the radio, such as ‘Pretty Shining People’, ‘Paradise’ and ‘Shotgun’. There was no escaping them.
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter has made his way to the top of the charts again with his catchy tunes. However, if we actually stop to listen to the songs and pay attention to the lyrics, we will find that they are of lazy composition. Take, for example, ‘Shotgun’. This is the song that has given Ezra his first number one on the UK Singles chart, but it is quite undeserving due to its lyrics.
The song starts with “home grown alligator see you later, gotta hit the road, gotta hit the road.” There is no way good lyricism can come out of these two verses if you are using a childish saying and can’t even find a different word to rhyme with road. But, in fairness, he deserves some credit for making the two lines fit together in the same context.
This cannot be said about the following three verses; “Something changed in the atmosphere, architecture unfamiliar, I could get used to this.” For starters, there is a lack of linking words between sentences which creates sloppiness and its quite a desperate attempt to make the lines rhyme.
The crème de la crème is in the chorus, where he goes on to sing; “I’ll be riding shotgun, underneath the hot sun, feeling like a someone.” Again, we find he chooses the easiest rhymes “shotgun” and “hot sun”, and then out of the blue he continues with “feeling like a someone” as if it had some meaning, or even some relation to the song as a whole.
These lyrics could be considered postmodernist writing but I would just consider them beyond any literary movement.
When it comes to the instrumentation of the songs the album is full of catchy tunes which could brighten your day for a whole three minutes. One example is ‘Get Away’, the third song of the album, which includes brass instruments and even a breif moment of virtuoso brass band resemblance after the first chorus.
Going back to ‘Shotgun’, the tune of this song has a pronounced beat which he uses to his advantage for rhyming and will make you bob your head while listening to it. As a genre, his songs fit perfectly within commercialism, although, I have to admit, he has created something original at the same time, which is hard to find nowadays.
In all, Ezra has composed fairly good songs with catchy upbeat tunes but when it comes to lyrics he is as good as Rebecca Black. I would recommend him to hire a professional songwriter capable of telling a story. Nonetheless, as most people hear music, rather than listening to it, because they are not really paying attention to it, I do recommend playing his entire album, regardless of the lyrics.
By Javier Ruiz