"I was born to jump and run"
George Ezra, Budapest, from his 2015 album, Wanted on Voyage.
I first heard Ezra in the middle of a downward dog. It was his hit song, Budapest. I thought “this is good, but definitely a one hit wonder” and kept moving through my asanas… but secretly hoping I’d hear the song again somewhere else. His voice was like butter, and I felt oddly protected and like I wanted to party, all at once. I know, sounds kind of creepy and weird but it wasn’t.
Fast forward who knows how long in the future (we’ll say few months for the story’s sake) and I hear his voice AGAIN, on the radio, which I almost never listen to. I was headed to do some errand, and it was too short a drive for me to hook my Spotify up, so I decided to find some quick public talk to listen to. Lo and behold, I land upon NPR, and they’re interviewing Ezra. Hearing his voice was still shocking -- I have only heard two voices like his, ever. Bono’s, and Trevor Hall’s. Listening to him talk was almost as great as hearing him sing. Eventually he did sing, and it was incredible. I didn’t even care about lyrics, I just wanted to hear him make sounds. Perfect, lovely, overwhelming sounds.
I know, I sound like a weirdo. But he’s that good, and I’m not embarrassed to say it. He just is.
Fast forward to this summer, and I come across his whole ALBUM on Spotify. When I first heard him, I was terrified of looking for an album. What if his albums aren’t as good as Budapest?? Ignorance is bliss. But eventually I knew I had to chalked up the courage, and took a listen. And now, I can’t stop listening.
Do you know how some wedding photographers are the same style every time? Like, you hire them because you want your album to look like 20 others (I’m not bashing this style, but do you know what I’m talking about?). OK. That’s not Ezra. His songs are all independent of each other -- like a wedding photographer that capture the couple exactly as they are, and every album is different, and what makes them similar is how well done they are, not lighting or positioning, or something like that.
Well, that’s Ezra.
His songs are good -- they’re “selfish”, but not in a way that’ll annoy you. They’re introspective, in a way that you can tell he’s searching for order and truth. Each song feels unique, with his voice the golden thread.
For example: Listen to Budapest, which you’ve probably already done because it’s so stinking popular, and then listen to Did You Hear the Rain, my second favorite. See what I’m saying?
Lyrically though -- he’s a little weird. They’re either about him or a woman, unnamed, but pivotal to his writing, or her “darling” who he basically wishes was gone so his lady can come back to him. He craves her, and he wants her to crave him back -- but it’s not happening. His music incarnates unrequited love, and it breaks you, but, like all unrequited love, you wonder how much of this is him and how much of this is her. As listeners, we don’t know. But as listeners, we’re here for the journey, not the end result. Ultimately, his stories are about a life lived fully -- the pain and the glory of being a human -- for Ezra, we’re really born to jump and run.
Overall, he’s got some bad songs (sorry buddy). There are better artists out there, who I could review. But I knew I had to pick this guy for some reason. Maybe it’s because I don’t see enough Christians interacting (at all, or well) with modern more “pop” artists. Maybe it’s because I was just curious to see on paper how much I really can defend and support his music. Either way, I think he’s pretty good.