A lot can happen in three years.
Apple Watches can become a thing, we can convince ourselves that we need more Spider-Man films, and Mayer Hawthorne can work like he’s four entirely separate people. Since the release of Where Does This Door Go (2013), he’s released two collaborative albums, gone on multiple tours, and-in what can only be described as a shameless flex-showcased all of those ventures during a two-night show. But instead of taking the break that he undoubtedly deserves, Mayer is back at it again with his fourth solo release, Man About Town.
On Where Does This Door Go, Mayer took us on what can only be described as a musical adventure, complete with enough sounds for three albums. A product of a major label deal, WDTDG afforded Hawthorne the opportunity to work with producers like Pharrell Williams, and was a way for him to explore all of the genres that shaped him as an artist.
Man About Town, however, is structured more like a traditional concept album, with a consistent sound, and a theme that revolves around love and loneliness. But like the soul artists of the 60s and 70s, Mayer has managed to make despair danceable, fusing vulnerable storytelling with fun, lighthearted production. And in the grand scheme of things, that ability to paint stories so vividly is what makes Mayer Hawthorne such a fascinating artist. As a songwriter, he avoids being lofty or hard to understand, which allows songs like “The Valley” to have a visual quality that really brings life to the album.
Also worth noting is the way that Hawthorne pays homage to past eras of music without coming across as an artist who’s simply trying to ride a wave. Even without reading any of his interviews, it’s easy to take his delivery on songs like “Book Of Broken Hearts” or “Lingerie & Candlewax”, and identify them as tributes to Bobby Caldwell and Nate Dogg, respectively. As someone who’s very vocal about the music that made him who he is, it’s always great to see Mayer giving nods to artists who are often times mitigated.
Standout tracks on this album include “Breakfast In Bed”, “Love Like That”, and “Out Of Pocket”, but if we’re being honest, the whole album is worth a spin,
Man About Town is currently being featured on Pandora Premieres until tomorrow (4/08), when it will be released.