Leon Bridges — Bad Bad News

Deciding on this week’s feature was easy because this here joint has been in my ear, on my mind, in the car, and generally all up in my business the last couple of weeks.

For my money one of the grooviest, most dance-able records released to-date in 2018 (no matter the genre), there ain’t nothing bad about this song. Listening to it, you feel cooler. You act smoother. You don’t sit down at the bar so much slide onto the stool. You ask for your drink neat, hold the rocks. You reach for sunglasses, even if you’re indoors. You dangle one arm over the steering wheel, rest the other on the middle console, and just prop a lean. You sing aloud to the chorus no matter where you are (watch out for that). You Google “Used Fender Rhodes.”

l.bridges.good thing

I’ve been a Leon Bridges fan since his 2015 breakout debut Comin’ Home, so news of a new LP (Good Thing, due out next week, May 4) was exciting. This track is one of three pre-releases, all of which indicate that Leon is subtly stretching out his straight-up classic soul style. A bit more polished production, a fuller sound, and smoothing out some of the more raw, throwback edges that characterized Comin’ Home.

There’s a risk of gaining some pop polish at the cost of soulfulness, but I think Leon has to explore other directions. Otherwise, after another record or two, he’ll be in the same place he is now artistically — an incredibly talented, dynamic performer of soul-standard-sounding songs who people too-casually say was “born too late” or “belongs to a different generation.” Personally, I’m excited to see him try and make soul music that feels at home in 2018–something authentic and soulful that isn’t neatly characterized neo-soul or retro-soul or soul revivalist or pop-R&B. We’ll see.

Shoot, no matter all of that. Whatever he does on the rest of the album, I’m grateful for this song. Just kick back and enjoy….

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