The Texan songwriter finds his groove in vulnerability on his third album, "Gold-Diggers Sound ".
Tenacity is anchored in the soul of the South. It is there in the grain and determination of the song, in the patiently rolling grooves, in the way his down-to-earth stories play out. It 's there in the way the music clings to blues and gospel roots tied to deeper African ancestry. And it ' s there in how sound persists and adapts over decades, finding newwaters rhythms but always testifying from the bottom of my heart.
"Gold-Diggers Sound", the third album by the Texan songwriter Leon Bridges , offers his personalized survival strategy for Southern Soul. Bridges sings his classic themes in songs that take their time and revel in natural, unvarnished vocals. He promises sultry romance in "Magnolias ", cheats (with the duet voice of Atia "Ink " Boggs) in "Don 't Worry About Me " and asserts his faith in "Born Again ". Around him, the music uses synthetic textures, programmed rhythms and surreal overlays to carry a decades-old tradition into the 21st century. figcaption >
"Sweeter ", which Bridges published in June 2020 after the police murder of George Floyd, is relieved of the mourning. The narrator is a dead man with his mother, sisters and brothers mourning over him." I thought we were were the darkest days, "sings Bridges, to a trap rhythm and the measured chords of Terrace Martin's electric piano; he adds: " Someone should hand you a crime / Because you have me. stole my chance to be. "
" I can't and won't keep silent "Bridges said in a statement at the time. "Just as Abel 's blood cried out to God, George Floyd cried out to me.
Bridges, 32, made his way into soul music history. His debut album, "Coming Home in 2015, featured a singer who dated back to a time long before his birth. His voice was reminiscent of the smoothness of Sam Cooke and the grain of Otis Redding, and his music was decidedly revivalist soul of the 1960s. Bridges advanced the timeline with "Good Thing in 2018, citing 'quiet storm' R&B and '90s neo-soul. Both albums hit the Billboard Top 10, but they left the impression that Bridges was still doing genre studies. , trying out established styles.
"Gold-Diggers Sound " - named after the Los Angeles studio where the album was made - is more resolutely confident. All his songs aremidtempo or slower, often languid worm. The gently coiled, reverberating electric guitar vampires, by Nate Mercereau, turn many songs into meditations, and every track, no matter what goes below the surface, leans on Bridges 'vocals. While the writing credits are full of collaborations - including pop song doctors like Dan Wilson and Justin Tranter - the songs feature Bridges as a lonely figure in a desolate, pleading, and promising space. Image
Bridges and his producers, Ricky Reed and Mercereau, clearly heard the slow grooves of D 'Angelo, Prince, R. Kelly, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. But there is another melancholy side to Bridges' songs and his voice: less confidence, more pain.
He is still a good talker, offering his lovers not only pleasure but also deeper empathy. In " Moto on a groove calmly tinged with Africa, he insists: "I don't mean that there is no pressure / I just want you to feel good." A guitar vamp serenely in "Details " then that he's worried that a partner finds someone else; he reminds him how careful he is "What you look like in the car when I drive a little ast / Comment you pause when you speak when you try not to laugh.
Throughout the album, Bridges dares to admit how needy he is. "Why don't you touch me has the kind of wavy backdrop that another singer might use for a come-on low-key. But the Bridges song sees the passion ebb from his relationship, wonders what he may have done wrong and ends up begging: "Girl, make me feel want / Don 't let me here dissatisfied. "And Bridges ends the album not with romantic bliss, but with " Blue Mesas ", which confesses a lingering depression that has not been changed by success. a contemporary choice - unexpectedly in line with the dark rap song of songwriters like Polo G and Rod Wave . For Bridges, soul history is still unfolding.