Monday, October 7, 2013

I Think We're Alone Now: Mayer Hawthorne Funks-up "Royals" (Unexpected Covers: Lorde)

Mayer Hawthorne has really progressed leaps and bounds since unveiling his premier limited press heart-shaped "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" 45 for Stones Throw (2008). Hawthorne has toured across America with everyone from John Mayer to Erykah Badu; I was lucky enough to catch Mayer Hawthorne & The County post-A Strange Arrangement at First Unitarian Church (a legit Philly church rec-room). He's already gotten a chance to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Daryl Hall, SebastiAn, Jessie Ware, James Pants, Pharrell, Jake-One, etc. Andrew "Mayer Hawthorne" Cohen has effectively pioneered a sort of Hip-Hop-infused "New-Wop" sound, over the course of 3 albums and some change. But critics and fans alike are saying that Hawthorne's most recent album, Where Does This Door Go?, is swaying in a little more of a mainstream radio Neo-Soul sonic lane.

16-year-old Kiwi [New Zealand] songstress Lorde rocketed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts over the weekend, a feat not achieved by someone her age since Tiffany way back in 1987; to help commemorate the occasion, Hawthorne orchestrated a heavily Funked-up "Royals" cover for VEVO's Unexpected Covers online mini-series. While it's a pretty faithful rendition of Lorde's sprawling Electro-Pop hit, it's a little odd hearing a mid-30's Neo-Soul crooner re-appropriating the young adult's mega-single about materialistic things like "gold teeth, Grey Goose, Cristal, Maybach," and of course, "driving Cadillacs in our dreams." The Roots-affiliated okayplayer described Lorde as "She's on some catchy-as-Hell-harmonies-from-heaven tip. She writes all of her lyrics... Her voice is something else, and is especially impressive for a girl of her age" far ahead of their peers. For readers that like what they've heard here, both Lorde & Mayer Hawthorne's most recent albums, Pure Heroine and Where Does This Door Go? are now available for purchase.

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