Just when it seems like many music genres are starting to sound like prepackaged pablum, an artist pops up to remind us what good old fashion REAL music sounds like. Old soul Leon Bridges hit the scene in 2015 with his debut album Coming Home, which embraced a powerful neo-Motown sound. His latest release Good Thing has more of a modern R&B flavor, with his velvety voice navigating the urbane landscapes of contemporary soul, occasionally veering off into throwback territory.
With Bridges' buttery smooth voice reminiscent of a mix between Sam Cooke and Raphael Saadiq, the ten tracks here are a walk through love, self-reflection and journeys, internal and external. The opening song "Bet Ain't Worth the Hand" is a dreamy, heartfelt love song that mesmerizes from the opening lush piano notes, which are reminiscent of the ones in Curtis Mayfield's classic "The Makings of You." Bridges’ captivating vocals convey pain and hope. No Keith Sweat-level begging for him. Situations are lessons learned.
"Bad Bad News" and "If it Feels Good (Then It Must Be)" are sublime auditory concoctions that have a hint of Tony! Toni! Toné!'s feel-good, New Jack Swing-ish enthusiasm blended with today’s clear-cut R&B grooves. The closing track "Georgia to Texas" is a sparse, haunting soliloquy that has more of Bridges' signature vintage sound.
Good Thing is a sophomore effort that shows Bridges exploring the caverns of his vocal and songwriting talents. The songs are a symphony of raw soul, distilled with a hint of pop and gospel. While some may miss that ‘50s/’60s soul sound that his initial musical outing had, Bridges' is just flexing his talent here, illustrating that when you have the goods, no need to stay boxed into one category. A good thing is a good thing.
Notable Tracks: “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” | “Georgia to Texas” | “Shy”