Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go

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“Where Does This Door Go” is the third full release from the Detroit born young crooner of retro soul. It see’s him growing in strength both as a vocalist, songwriter, and contender for the mainstream heavyweight, but as with his previous releases it has its highs and lows. This time he has left the production duties to Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Alica Keys, John Legend), Pop & Oak (Trey Songs, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj), Greg Wells (Aerosmith, Adele, Count Bassie Orchestra, Elton John to name but a few), and Pharell Williams. Throughout the album you can hear Mayer’s influences loud and clear from the Hall & Oates style opener “Back Seat Lover”, to the 10th track “Reach Out Richard” which starts off very much like Steely Dan’s “Peg” (Aja). The highlights of the album are the rhythm led “Wine Glass Lover” which straight 16ths groove is lends itself perfectly to be re-edited for a dance-floor summer smash, and the slow tempo, string arrangement of the title track “Where Does This Door Go”. Other highlights are the 4/4 piano chord and muted horns of “The Only One”, and the Steely Dan inspired “Reach Out Richard”. The albums low points are the programmed numbers of “Crime” which includes a Fisher Price rap by Kendrick Lamar, and the computerised sex sounds of the song “Robot Love”. Master Hawthorne’s new release is a mixed bag, with him once again playing the young Casanova with feelings, clearly intended for the female pop demographic, whilst also appealing to lovers of classic soul inspired song writing. My only complain is that he should have had separate releases for his styles, or just turn down the sugar coating sloppiness a bit.