Artist: Mayer Hawthorne
Album: Where Does This Door Go?
Single: Reach Out Richard
About a month ago, every DJ I know suggested I take a listen to the new release by Mayer Hawthorne. I was super slow out the gate though, not that I don’t dig him, I just had stacks of new stuff I’d yet to get into. Then one of them gave me a preview and it peaked my curiosity. So Saturday I waited until dusk, found the nearest gas station, filled my car up, bought lemonade, tossed it in a fountain cup with crushed ice and took a long drive and listened to it. In its entirety, I might add. It was really hard not to keep going back to the track below though. Not just because the subject matter is so touching or that I it’s just damn infectious but also because of all the Blurred Lines drama.
When I first heard that Robin Thicke joint I didn’t immediately feel as if it were an homage to Mr. Gaye. I felt like it was more of a song with a sample of one of Marvin’s most recognizable hits. But I can see where one might take the homage stance. Also, I may have just come to that conclusion based on the fact that I don’t really dig the song in question. But after listening to “Reach out Richard” I completely felt that not only was it paying homage to Hawthorne’s dad ( the subject of the song) but also to Steely Dan. My first thought in fact was, “Oh damn, this is a love letter to Donald Fagan”. Which I can completely get behind because I have always had a thing for Steely Dan ( Donald Fagan’s group) myself. So yeah, do the damn thing Mayer.
What makes it even more interesting to me is that Pharrell produced both the songs in question. With the arsenal of hit’s he has under his belt, no way is he a stranger to clearances and copyright law. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that he’s produced these two records with similar objectives and yet they both potentially call into question ownership of a certain sound. One more so than the other but i digress.
Anyway that’s my two cents on the situation. I don’t think it can even be called two cents as it’s mad brief and not as well thought out as I had hoped. But it’s Sunday and as I write this I feel like I wanna make coffee and write letters instead so I better get to it. I’m posting Mayer’s joint below. For some reason You Tube won’t allow me to post “Peg” by Steely Dan. So if you like click here and decide if you can hear any similarities between the two songs. I could seriously keeping writing about the tons of Soul & Hip Hop Artists in my collection that have confessed their love of Steely Dan in general, but I feel like I’m rambling and coffee awaits. Enjoy~devoya
Love Photo: A Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Jennifer Donley’s Flickr Photostream