19 September 2009

Some People to Love: Mayer Hawthorne and Taylor Hicks

Mayer Hawthorne is one of the greatest new acts this year, no doubt about it. I had heard the hype from everyone from Perez to John Mayer but I wasn't sure whether to believe it. There have been others with equal hype that I still don't understand (hello Brett Dennen) but this is really one for the books. I'm enjoying this guy's sound so much that I've probably been playing the one song I have of his over and over enough times to get it on my top 25 most played list - and it's only been a few days.

My one complaint would be the generic sound of his old-school style. While it's my absolute favorite type of sound, it's still lacking in originality a tiny bit. It's sort of a rip-off of all the people Hawthorne is inspired by - Smokey Robinson, Barry White, etc. and they could definitely do it better than he could. With that said, this guy is definitely ten times better than so many young artists on the scene right now. I condone mimicking the past much more than the present pop/punk robotic imitations happening in a big way all over MTV and those Top 40 stations. Mayer Hawthorne is the kind that will probably never see any success on the radio but could still have a serious career (even John Legend doesn't have big radio success but a huge following). Smooth, soulful types never get their just due.

I wasn't anticipating mentioning this but Taylor Hicks, the winner of American Idol a few seasons back, made an excellent soul record "The Distance", that never ever got enough credit as well. There are some absolutely fantastic adult contemporary singles on that record that could have easily gotten recognition with the over 30 female set (and more). I feel this must be mentioned if Hawthorne is getting attention for the same kind of music that's not even as original as Hicks' sound. I wouldn't be embarassing myself by saying this if it weren't true - and if there's any young people reading this, play Taylor Hicks or Hawthorne for your mom, they're sure to understand.

Go buy Taylor Hicks album! I don't want him being dropped from his record label (if that hasn't happened already). Really cute music video too, he's a nice looking guy.

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