There’s only a week to go until Mayer’s album lands, and the good chaps over at NPR have grabbed an early stream of the LP for listeners to enjoy. The previously-released Her Favorite Song has proven a strong, enduring single, and certainly offer hope ahead of this album’s release.
It feels as though it’s Mayer’s time for mainstream success, and appearances from Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell on this project will certainly help that cause. He’s vocally gifted and lyrically talented, and the only unpredictable variable is his choice of productions- signs suggest he’s not rooting completely in the vintage stylings of his back catalogue, and is rather infusing that with a more modern soul approach for the best of both worlds. All assumptions in truth, and only a listen of the album below will provide answers. Be sure to support next week.
After recently releasing an official remix (by Large Professor, no less) of this single, Mayer continues to give it a push with the official video for the Jessie Ware-assisted original.
Aside from the unexpected deluge of canine companions, it’s a video that captures the essence of the audio cleanly and accurately. The unadulterated sleaze of the melodies fits the dim club scene well, and of course adds context to the presence of dogs in place of men, with the suggestion that the attending males are all basically just dogs anyway- not complicated and a bit of fun, which will certainly raise some smiles as they end up filling the role quite accurately. Plus, the massive dog wearing sunglasses that appears towards the end looks like a total legend.
Mayer’s stage presence is enjoyable, even if it is just in very short bursts, with the old-school microphone and supporting band keeping a link back to his vintage stylings, whilst his ‘image’ appears to have been cleaned up a tad and comes across a little slicker now-the crisp suits are still there, but gone are the glasses, and there’s a little Michael Buble about him now. Worth a watch, and a good accompaniment to an excellent audio.
Large Pro slides through with an unexpected official remix of Mayer’s excellent lead single, taken of course from the Where Does This Door Go album, due out on 16th July.
The Professor takes the track in a slightly darker, edgier direction, away from its pop origins and into a moodier area. Stripping out the funky production of the original, the remix opens with a piercing guitar riff that sets the grittier attitude of this track off well, before chunky, thudding percussion enters the fray to really dominate the soundscape. Around that drumline are hints of additional melodies, from soft guitar to easygoing synths, but it’s really one that moves forward on the back of that percussion, and though it becomes a tad repetitive, it does end up being a rather hypnotising listen. Pro even comes through with a verse to switch the momentum of the track slightly, and the heavy percussion certainly lends itself well to Large Professor’s cadence, adding a final dash of hip-hop into a remix that seems to span across several genres. It won’t replace the original, but a nice complement to it.
With the first release from Mayer’s Where Does This Door Go still getting plenty of replays on my iPod, he lets the second single go, one with a heavy personal twist as it’s for his father.
Much like the first single, there’s a lot of funk influence here, with bubbly guitars accompanied by vibrant percussion, making for a backdrop that hovers somewhere between soul and pop with a vintage twist. Unlike that track though, this one offers the upbeat qualities the full way through the track, skipping the option of cool-down sections in favour of a more consistent positivity that becomes increasingly infectious as the song drives onward. Occasionally, it tends to overpower Mayer’s relatively subtle vocals, but for the most part it’s a good accompaniment to his performance, which contains plenty of reflective lyricism- though the production may deceive you into thinking otherwise, it’s a very open set of lyrics that are remarkably honest at times, and it’s quite warming to hear the respect Mayer has for his father. Enjoyable work once again, and be sure to grab the album on 16th July.
Yes. All day yes. Two of my favourite vocalists in the business right now hook up for the first single from Hawthorne’s upcoming album, titled Where Does This Door Go and due out on 16th July, and it’s an excellent track that should get Mayer the widespread attention he’s deserved for a few years now.
The production is a lusciously-layered piece, with funky, bassy guitars adding a vintage soul feel, whilst the accompaniment of thunderous percussion and additional samples brings a modern pop twist; the combination is wholly successful throughout the verses, and culminates in a soft hook packed with airy synths, making for a great transition point between the verses. It’s nice to hear a hook used as a cool-down section rather than the track’s high point of intensity and Jessie Ware’s vocals are perfectly suited to that duty, with her gentle delivery meshing seamlessly with the production and also contrasting Mayer’s own performance. His work is a good blend between his regular soulful style and a more punchy delivery, with the latter synergising with those bouncy guitars in the verses, whilst the former makes for a comfortable segue into the hook. He closes off with a set of additional vocals in the chorus section, adding an upbeat element to Jessie’s hook, closing off a collaboration that I expect to play to death this summer.
In honor of the 1 year anniversary of ‘How Do You Do’ – here’s a free collection of remixes from some of my favorite producers. Bump it loud in the trap. Hallelujah holla back.
Whilst soul is unquestionably one of my favourite genres of music, I do find it difficult getting into Mayer’s work. I’m not sure why that is, but the ample amount of his material I own hasn’t quite commanded the control over me I expected it to. Nonetheless, he’s clearly a very talented act and let’s hope this collection of remixes changes that, as it packs plenty of promise thanks to the inclusion of some solid producers including RAC, who recently dropped off a good Bloc Party remix. Free stream and grab below.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of this week’s R&B content has already been delivered, with the hugely-anticipated release of The Weeknd’s second project, Thursday. There’s also new music from upcoming UK singer Chrome, dropping off an energetic single for his latest video.
Very diverse episode this week, with some mainstream pop, old-school style soul and the usual R&B fare all made available for your listening pleasure, and plenty of big names providing that content. Click below to fill yourself with R&B nourishment.
A very exciting free project from the fantastic Mayer Hawthorne, as he tackles six very diverse tracks and offers his own modern yet vintage (oxymoron?) soulful spin on them.
Any self-respecting soul fan will be clamouring for this one, and you can get yourself that little bit more hyped by heading over to Stones Throw’s website to read Mayer’s track-by-track breakdown of the EP. It makes for very interesting reading and adds a welcome depth to the project, preventing it from becoming ‘yet another covers project’. Grab the free EP below.
Despite already being sick of Christmas songs, I’d never let that come in front of brand new Mayer Hawthorne material and Mayer justifies that with yet another great effort. This one uses the instrumenal of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s song of the same name, and infuses it with the relaxing, buttery vocals that Mayer Hawthorne brings to every track he touches. It’s a great instrumental as it is, and throwing in some smooth vocals makes this an enjoyable vintage soul effort, Christmas or no Christmas! My favourite vocalist right now? I’m struggling to think of any currently active artists that are as consistent.
If you haven’t heard the original, you’re doing your ears a disservice: correct that by clicking here. It’s a great little ode to life as a single man, and the legendary Jazzy Jeff gives it a more urban friendly revamp with a whole new production.
If you’re not completely into your soul music, I’ve got no doubt you’ll find this version easier to connect with, as Jeff serves up a retro-inspired production that draws on a range of influences (there are bits of soul, hip-hop and R&B styles in here) to switch the track to a slower, more deliberate pace. Not quite as good as the original for me, but this will possibly have a wider appeal.
I’m very proud of this episode. I’m pretty happy with almost every track, and as a result it’s reduced down to around 15 tracks. Very digestable, and hence easy for you to give most of it a shot. Click on and agree with me, all of you. Thanks.
Consistency is the key, and like last week there are 18 tracks for you to check out. Pretty much full of names you should be familiar with by now, giving everything a go this week is made a lot easier in that respect.
Savour these episodes-next week could be my last R&B Friday for a few weeks as I’m going away. What/who will substitute for them you ask? Wait and see. Still one more to go after this one though!