Last night I tried a little Adderall.
It was working for a while
until I thought about your smile.
I got that fire Cali medical,
but it never gets me high.
Baby only you know why,
You, you are
my designer drug,
and only you
aan help me,
and I can’t get enough.”
The first time I heard Hawthorne spit out the first lyrics to this track in his effortless falsetto, I clapped my hands and yelled, “Yes!” The frankness of this whole track is infectious. Everything from the funky soul beat to the running bass line, and of course Hawthorne’s tongue and cheek story. There’s some seriously good vibes pulsing through this track. It’s like the music is getting lifted by its own sound, and we’re just getting contact high. Tracks with as much groove as this often rely on nostalgia for that extra oomph, but Hawthorne uses his inspiration wisely. He doesn’t appropriate or rip-off his musings, he takes their precedent and makes something completely his own. He’s a creator in the truest sense.
I read an article yesterday about that very idea and it’s presence in pop music today. The article focused on Beyoncé, a polarizing artist if there ever was any, and how she’s more of a canvas than creator. It made some solid points and references the blatant inspiration rip-off’s she’s done for videos like “Countdown,” “Single Ladies,” and “Get Me Bodied.” Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m apart of the Beyhive, my friends and I sat at our computers each morning of the Mrs. Carter World Tour presale tickets (only to find they sold out in seconds each time), and I’m living for her latest track snippets. Artistry and entertainment are two different fields, though, and Bey falls into the latter. Which is fine. It’s great, in fact. We need personalities and performers like her to showcase brilliant choreography and imagery that would have otherwise gone unknown in the underground. That’s what pop is for. We also need to consider musicians like Mayer Hawthorne, too. They’re work is the original stuff that will undoubtedly provide the ballast for future pop. You just so happen to be in the know and can point out his influence when you hear something on the radio in the months ahead. You’re here because you’re a creator in your own right and believe in taking what’s been done and spinning it all your own. You get high off of making things, learning, and listening. The mainstream isn’t a bad thing, to be appropriated isn’t a bad thing. It’s an honor, in my opinion.
Anyway, I could go on but this track sums up what I’m trying to say. The lyrics might not, but the sounds and vibrations it’ll send through your body do. That’s the sign of true music artistry, really.