Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley
You don't look so good, friend. It seems like you might be a little down in the dumps, a little blue. Is there anything that we can do, anything at all? Don't hesitate in saying so. We'd like to help if we can. You think that nothing can help, huh? Well, that cannot be right. As a matter of fact, we know that's not right. We've got something right here that's bigger and more powerful than the greatest ray of sunshine that's ever been seen. It's bound and guaranteed to work for you. Don't look so skeptical. Just give it a try. See, you're already looking better. Do you feel any better? Yeah? Well, that's great. His name's Mayer Hawthorne. Just let him keep working on you. No, he's not a doctor, but it's hard to convince yourself he's not, isn't it? He works wonders and he's reliable. He'll keep you feeling like this as long as you'll have him. There's no end in sight to what he's good for. You'll become addicted to this formula and you won't care that you are because you're getting the results you want and need. You're going to need Hawthorne's latest record, "How Do You Do?" with you at all times, just in case one of these attacks hits you again and you need to get back into your groove.
The Detroit, Michigan-dwelling, Motown-loving soul singer - who recently performed an alternative to the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day halftime performance by Nickelback from his parents' home, broadcast on Rolling Stone's website - is everything that the Motor City's musical legacy was built on when Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson were running the town. He's unabashedly retro-leaning and it makes every song sound as if it were a classic - something plucked out of a hit parade, dusted off and performed again, anew, with the horns bleating the sweet punctuations and the harmonies pitched thick and about as perfect as you can ever get them. He writes the catchiest damn hooks and provides us with the kinds of loving and leaving, pining for women types of songs that still get done today, but often in much different ways and with much different results.
"The Walk" is a song about a woman with luxurious hair and soft lips, but she's doing Hawthorne wrong. Ain't that always the case with those babes with their luxurious hair and soft lips? She's changed from what he thought he was originally getting with her, as he sings, "From the moment that I met you I thought you were fine/So fine/But your shitting fucking attitude got me changing my mind/That's right bitch…/And you can walk those long legs, baby, right out of my life." Even with these new revelations, this cold water on the fire, the song sounds like a celebration of sorts. It's the kind of song that gives you the feeling that the clouds are parting and that it's time to get back to having fun - something that might have been missing before. "How Do You Do?" continues like this or the entire album, covering cheeks with dimples and putting candy in our mouths.
Mayer Hawthorne Official Site
Stones Throw Records