A Strange Arrangement (Bonus Track Version)

A Strange Arrangement (Bonus Track Version)

Mayer Hawthorne (born Andrew Mayer Cohen) is a 30-year-old white musician with a deep appreciation of Smokey Robinson, Eddie Kendricks, and the complete works of Holland-Dozier-Holland. Hawthorne isn’t the only contemporary musician whose aim is to revive the textures and production techniques of mid-to-late period Motown. Just last year Raphael Saadiq released The Way I See It, an album with similar intentions as A Strange Arrangement. The difference is that Saadiq is a great singer and a passable arranger, while Hawthorne is a passable singer and a great arranger. He has learned to use his voice to his advantage, and it blends effortlessly into the dreamy chords of “A Strange Arrangement,” “Green Eyed Love,” and “Make Her Mine.” Hawthorne comes off slightly stiff on the uptempo numbers, but he has a knack for slow jams, and “Shiny & New” and “I Wish It Would Rain” are nothing short of sublime. But just like those old Motown albums, one single stands above all the rest — the groovy and graceful “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out.”

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