Mayer Hawthorne, one half of Tuxedo, recently stated that the duo’s debut, self-titled album was influenced by groups from the ‘80s to the ‘90s, from fellow mono-name band Cameo to DJ Quik, resulting in a sound that meets somewhere between both to create a G-funk/disco hybrid. Which is honestly all that needs to be said to get soul music lovers to part with their hard-earned dollars when the album drops on March 3rd. But since there may be a few of you out there questioning whether disco and G-funk are worth revisiting, let's get into the details of why this album is one your collection is in dire need of.
From the opening synth bass lines of The S.O.S. Band-inspired album opener “Lost Lover,” it’s clear that Tuxedo is here for a good time. The duo -- consisting of Hawthorne and hip-hop producer Jake One -- seem to have created an album purely for the purpose of ensuring that you won’t feel the need to stay off the dance floor, well at the very least for the album’s funk-filled duration. We were given a taste of just how soulful the duo was capable of getting with their 2013 self-titled EP, and this album takes off from there, even including those three tracks, the upbeat “Do It” and “So Good” along with the mellow “Get U Home,” on Tuxedo’s full-length foray into funk.
The album keeps things relatively upbeat until five songs in where we meet the party-closing, seal the deal (or go home alone) number “Two Wrongs,” which sees Hawthorne crooning as we’ve come to best know him for, over delicate guitar and heavy harmonies. Then the synth-driven “Tuxedo Groove” kicks in, taking the affair up into an interlude-esque elevator ride before “I Got U” and “Roll Along” move the album back into gear with their sweet odes to love.
The influence of G-funk era goodness is most evident on album closer “Number One,” which flips Snoop Dogg’s iconic ‘90s rap number "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" from crude to clean in one falsett0-tinged swoop. Tuxedo take the dirty lyrics and create a tribute to the good women whom men shouldn’t let go of, as Hawthorne says “til we’re six feet under ground.”
Tuxedo is not a prolific body of work that will change the world, but it is a fun album that pays homage to years of music long forgotten and ripe for a rebirth. We had a hint at the second coming of disco with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and even in elements of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special, but neither so effortlessly takes ‘80s funk and maintains the aesthetic that made the genre so addictive as Tuxedo does.