Leon Bridges

Good Thing


May 11, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When Leon Bridges released his debut album, Coming Home, in 2015, the Texan singer proved that time travel was possible. It was a record that paid homage to the sweet, sad soul of Sam Cooketo whose voice Bridges' own bore great similaritybut recast them in context of contemporary America. The result was a record that didn't just turn to the past and bleed nostalgia for it, but which framed the music and artists that had inspired it in a more modernand, perhaps as a resulta less innocent and romantic context, even though innocence and romance still played a key role in those songs.

For this follow-up, however, Bridges has rolled fully into the present. His voice remains as compelling and as seductive as ever, but the music is unrecognizable, moving firmly into the territory of smooth jams and synthetic beats. There's the slow, electronic beats of "Forgive You" (which also offers slight but nevertheless misjudged traces of Auto-Tune), the upbeat modern R&B of "If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)" and the sultry, slow-motion near-disco of "Shy," all of which shed the soulful skin that Bridges had previously inhabited so well and so convincingly in exchange for songs that are note perfect but which lack any of the emotion, depth or conviction of that first record.

There are timesnotably on the sunny swing of "Beyond," an unfettered love song with Bridges exhibiting an impressive Prince-esque falsetto, and the almost glowering soul throwback of closer "Georgia to Texas" (hands down the most emotionally stirring track on the record)when Bridges comes close to capturing the magic that defined his first record, but on the whole this is a disappointing follow-up, a faint echo of the majesty of what preceded it. (www.leonbridges.com)     

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May 14th 2018

No matter how talented you are, you must always have the ambition to keep coming back with a better approach. Talent is one thing, a successful artist due to the confidence of continuously trying is what makes the best.