Mayer Hawthorne: Where Does This Door Go

Posted July 16, 2013 by in Pop



3/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , ,
Genre: R&B, soul, pop
Producer: Pharrell Williams, John Hill, Kid Harpoon, Steve Mostyn, Greg Wells, Mayer Hawthorne
Label: Universal Republic
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 51:54
Release Date: 16 July 2013
Spin This: "Reach Out Richard," "Crime," "Back Seat Lover"


New adventures into alt-R&B; Kendrick Lamar and the Pharrell-produced "Reach Out Richard" are worthy of the album's admission alone


There's some familiarity here, but most of the Hawthorne aesthetic has been removed to make room for bigger sounds

Retro soul singer travels through the open door of new musical direction

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Retro soul singer travels through the open door of new musical direction

In the year 2013, blue-eyed soul boy wonder Mayer Hawthorne sounds like he’s on a quest to prove he’s more than just a one-trick pony that follies with Motown and Philly soul experiments. On his third album, Where Does This Door, his second on a major label – Universal Republic, Hawthorne bends the rules a little to sound a bit more alt-R&B (which is the cool Drake thing going on) and a bit more Questlove-ish. All of these new techniques on wax also means that he has to sacrifice a little of his familiarity to appeal to younger audiences. There’s a few throwbacks akin to EW&F (“Back Seat Lover”), Steely Dan (“The Stars Are Ours,” “Wine Glass Woman”) and John Lennon (“All Better”), but the abandonment of that Curtis Mayfield-meets-H&O decorum is no longer at the root of Hawthorne’s presentation, at least on this album. As he succeeds in pulling off fifteen-second interludes, a West Coast rap utopia on the Kendrick Lamar-guested “Crime” while using 21st century productions, even with the help of super-producers like Pharrell Williams, Hawthorne is willing to shed some of his old nostalgic skin just to look like a JT’s competition. Despite label ears being glued to the Jessie Ware-supported “Her Favorite Song,” which might be Hawthorne’s weakest lead single to date, the album’s truest masterpiece, “Reach Out Richard,” explores new depths of lyricism, pulling out a gripping story about daddy’s little boy discovering manhood all on his own with flaws and all: “Richard, you told me all I need to know/But there’s some things you can’t prepare for/All I ever wanted to/Is be as good a man as you.” The new changes are a bit hard for those hungry of more of the same, but Hawthorne succeeds in breaking the mold and challenging his own brand – one that still is still vilified by those who don’t take him serious. Here’s hoping this album breaks some of the ice.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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