Mayer Hawthorne: Man About Town

Posted May 4, 2016 by in r&b



3/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , ,
Genre: R&B, soul
Producer: Aeroplane. Benny Sings, Bram Inscore, Dave Tozer, Jack Splash
Label: Vagrant
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 34:02
Release Date: 8 April 2016
Spin This: "Love Like That," "Lingerie & Candlewax"


Detour into '70's Barry White and Marvin Gaye slow jams adds new flavor to Hawthorne's soul buffet


Short presentation, lack of pop-flavored R&B template that made Hawthorne so accessible

Soul revivalist steps in throwback ’70’s vibe, losses some of his pop appeal on fourth LP

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Soul revivalist steps in throwback ’70’s vibe, losses some of his pop appeal on fourth LP

mayerhawthorne-01Retro soul brother Mayer Hawthorne painted a big impression on the consciousness of R&B connoisseurs after releasing his first two indie LPs, acting as a new generation provocateur of Philly soul and Motown. After signing with Universal for his third LP, Hawthorne took on a new challenge of introducing himself to a newer and younger audience nursed on the mainstream blue-eyed soul of Justin Timberlake and Adele with Where Does This Door Go. Dropping rap swag (Kendrick Lamar) and Pharrell-produced efforts into the mix gave Hawthorne some much needed street cred, silencing some critics of Hawthorne who branded him as a nostalgia act.

On his latest effort, Man About Town, he returns to doing what he does best. He drops the allure of Barry White foreplay on “Cosmic Love” and digs into Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”-era on “Breakfast in Bed.” “Lingerie & Candlewax” continues the late night sex decorum using a smoldering dose of contemporary R&B and hefty brass. A return to Michael McDonald/latter Doobies pop-soul, a soaring component on familiar Hawthorne standouts like “A Long Time” and “Reach Out Richard,” can be heard on “The Valley.” It’s a pleasant trip dressed in breezy yacht rock, but it’s not as earth-shaking as “Love Like That.” Clearly the album favorite, this piece summons the sweetness of Hall & Oates’ pop-soul melodies into a satisfying example of sing-a-long majesty.

But Man About Town, only packaged with a mere ten tracks, feels like a misstep on Hawthorne’s part. Although his back-in-the-day mojo returns, many of the cuts have this ho-hum B-side presentation. It’s still a relatively decent easy-listening experience, but without the radio readiness of “Your Easy Lovin’” or “The Walk.” Even when he cautiously dips into the terrain of EW&F slow jams (“Get You Back”) and faux reggae (“Fancy Clothes”), Hawthorne feels a bit out of his territory. Creating pop-gloss soul is really Hawthorne’s specialty, and it’s one that defines much of his early work. That’s why when one hears “Love Like That” and wonders for more, they will probably feel Man About Town cuts them short.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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