Here’s a reprint of my review of the Mayer Hawthorne album that ran in Hot Press a few issues back.
Where Does This Door Go (Universal Republic)
Key Track: ‘Back Seat Lover’
Release Date: Out Now
A NEW SOUL STAR IS BORN.
After releasing a brace of critically acclaimed soul records steeped in old school values, this issue, multi-instrumentalist, singer and rapper Mayer Hawthorne steps things up a notch with a record that signals his arrival on the mainstream pop scene in style. Featuring some sterling production from a team which includes Pharrell Williams in their ranks and guest appearances from Kendrick Lemar (‘Crime’) and Jessie Ware (‘Her Favourite Song’), the super slick sounds of ‘The Only One’ and more will be inescapable by the time 2013 draws to a close. Unconcerned with making music that recalls “the good old days” as he’s only focused on “the good new days,” Hawthorne’s third album might not be as forward-looking as he intends, but the likes of the Halls & Oates-indebted ‘The Innocent’ and the infectious and funky ‘Back Seat Lover’ (complete with high pitched vocal yelps that recall Prince in his pomp) are near perfect pop songs. This is one time warp we’d like to do again (and again).