The popularity of genres comes and goes with the wind. One day nu metal is all the rage, the next boy bands are popping up all over the place with no end in sight. It’s hard to predict what will be the next big thing: tastemakers create buzz around what they think will take off, but they aren’t always right. And sometimes random things will pop up from a genre that used to be popular and have a weird kind of life of its own. New jack swing isn’t the rage it once was, but “Uptown Funk” would certainly fit in that category and I think that one did pretty well.
There’s another weird thing that happens sometimes: a record harkens back to another era so sincerely that the demographic for record sales boggles the minds of the executives. That seems to be the case with Leon Bridges new album Coming Home. Not only was the release horribly mismanaged by his label, it appears they have no idea what kind of mass appeal their artist holds. People everywhere from teens to seniors can find something to enjoy here.
Bridges brings the soul for the entirety of Coming Home, with a voice reminiscent of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke (though I’ll wait a few more records before the real comparisons start). The whole album, recorded in the singer’s hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, oozes with old school class. The silky smooth vocals dance over horns and doo-wop bass riffs. You can almost picture Bridges standing under a lamppost on a dark street, snapping his fingers and crooning the night away.
There are a couple contenders here for best song: On first spin the standout was definitely “Lisa Sawyer,” an ode his mother. After a few more listens “Pull Away” started to make itself more known, providing a much different view of a relationship with a woman than “Sawyer.” Bridges wears his heart on his sleeve, and writes his lyrics as straight up and honest as possible:
“My pillow bears a tear of a man in pain
Our love, I thought I could sustain
Don’t worry about me anymore
Cause I’ll be gone by the morning time”
Listening to the whole record can get a little repetitious, but enjoyable. There were four singles released before the album, which was probably overkill because if you’ve heard the singles there isn’t much to surprise you on the record. That doesn’t ruin the absolute joy that is listening to Leon Bridges sing, so I still recommend getting Coming Home one hundred percent. If you’re a fan of soul music I’m sure you’ll be very pleased with what you get.