Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement

~ Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Just checked the calender there. Was not sure if I had somehow been transported back to 60's America. This album does that to you. Hawthorne's sound shows a love of soul music, even down to the production. It is perhaps no surprise that he has this obsession considering that he grew up just outside Detroit, the soul capital of America.

The idea is a good one. Take that classic sound made famous by Smokey Robinson, The Platters, Curtis Mayfield, et al, and bring it to a new audience, except Mark Ronson already beat him to it. As a songwriter Hawthorne shows he understand the music, the songs are authentic and true. It is just that Hawthorne's vocals don't cut it. It is hard to see past his limp falsetto and enjoy the music on this album. In the hands of, say, Al Green or even Alexander O'Neal this could have been a great album, but as it is, it fails to excite.

Hawthorne's vocal frailties aside, tracks like Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin', Make Her Mine and One Track Mind capture the Atlantic Soul sound perfectly while The Ills is a killer floor filler of real quality in the vain on Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up.

If you are looking for a new take on classic soul, then this may be the album for you. As good as the music is, I personally can't get past Hawthorne's vocals.

[][][ (2.5/5)