Neo-soul phenomenon Mayer Hawthorne wowed us a few years back with his debut album, A Strange Arrangement, a colorful collection of tracks that expressed the spirit of the 60s and paid tribute to Detroit’s golden years. Today, Hawthorne is back with his second album, How Do You Do, which offers us more feel-good beats that blend the retro sound from Motown’s studio A with his modern swagger.
Sure, this sound isn’t anything new—artists like Raphael Saadiq, the late Amy Winehouse and C. Lo Green are already established neo-soul artists—but Hawthorne makes it feel natural and inventive. His lyrics are somewhat elementary and a few songs feel awfully commercial, but overall, this second album brings us more of the good stuff that we love from this Detroit native.
“The Walk” is the most melodic and catchy track from the album and lures us with fun lyrics about letting go of a love gone bad. “Stick Around” feels uber-retro with high-pitched vocals and chirpy back up singers, while “Can’t Stop” features Snoop Dogg and feels a bit more serious. The album ends with the track “Henny & Gingerale,” which begins like Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”; clearly an homage to Gaye’s influence on Hawthorne’s musical style.