Mayer Hawthorne Wants A New Drug

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I've had some scruples over Mayer Hawthorne and his crystal blue soul persuasion after being slightly engaged with his 2009 debut, A Strange Arrangement, and completely disappointed with his last album, 2011's How Do You Do. I should like him --- he's like a play cousin to Daryl Hall and a sobered up version of Jamie Lidell --- and he's got every bullet point marked on what I like to hear from an artist right down to a penchant for funky synth beats and an appreciation for the vintage, yet there is just something that's not clicking with me a majority of the time.

This time out I can say that something clicked once the play button was pressed on "Designer Drug", Hawthorne's newest (and guilt-free) creation. Wrapped up in swirls of early 80's disco, bubbling synths, and funky bass licks, "Designer Drug" had me hooked, recalling spirited classic synth joints like The Fatback Band's "I Need Lovin'" or One Way's "Cutie Pie". As the cherry on top, the middle eight is a spaced out treat that gives the song a unique twist. Also as a courtesy, Hawthorne also doesn't 'overdose' on the drug references which have had an uptick in recent songs (looking at you Justin Timberlake...), he just keeps everything nice and neat. No word on if this is a one-off single or the start of something new, but if this is Hawthorne in new attire, then I like the way he's dressed at the moment.

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