Where Does This Door Go, the intoxicating third album from soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, tackles its share of girl issues. On the slick “Back Seat Lover,” the vocalist is instructed to keep his lips sealed about a hookup, and on the futuristic “Robot Love,” he confesses that he “can’t keep going through the motions again and again.” But Door is open to other topics, too: The bouncy but serious “Reach Out Richard” is an ode to Hawthorne’s father, and “Her Favorite Song,” which features both unabashedly nasty bass and Jessie Ware’s breathy, sensual vocals, deals with the healing power of music. At its core, the soul genre has always been about when a man loves a woman, but love is unlimited.
And funny, too. The video for “Her Favorite Song” begins with Hawthorne serenading female dancers at a swanky club, but it’s quickly revealed that the players in his band are dogs dressed up like musicians. The women get cozy with the other clubgoers, who are also canines; one woman throws a tennis ball, demonstrating who’s in charge.
The big punch line comes at the end, when Hawthorne appears in a Wilfred-style dog suit and walks away with a pretty young thing. If he wasn’t there already, the video plants him firmly in the tradition of funky humorists such as George Clinton and the Time; like the Bowery Ballroom, where Hawthorne will celebrate the release of Door on Monday, that’s a good place to be.—Brad Farberman
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