I knew from the minute I heard it that Mayer Hawthorne’s Where Does This Door Go would be my favorite album of the year. Hawthorne first appeared on my radar in 2011 when I picked up his How Do You Do album after being charmed by “The Walk.” I loved how retro sounding and, simultaneously, how modern the music sounded. Those of you that know me know that male vocalists are a hard sell for me, but the combination of the music and lyrics sold me right away. Plus he rocked the hipster glasses like no one since David Tennant so how could I not like him?
“Her Favorite Song” which features Jessie Ware was the first thing we heard from Where Does This Door Go and it managed to be familiar and also showed Hawthorne expanding his sound and had me excited for the album. I bought it without even listening to it on Spotify first and it didn’t take me long to realize that he had hit this album out of the park. Upbeat tracks like “Wine Glass Woman” and “Back Seat Lover” are balanced out by songs like “All Better” and “Crime.” Hawthorne’s voice is in fine form and frequently slips into falsetto which I am always a sucker for.
The deluxe version of the album had 5 bonus tracks which are all worthy of inclusion on the album – a rare occurrence indeed. The album was also issued on not just vinyl, but on beautiful gold vinyl as a double album with amazing artwork and packaging.
It also featured a vinyl-only bonus track called “Physicality” which really makes me wish I had a turntable with USB functionality. It’s that good.
There was one misfire – the track “Allie Jones” kind of grates but the rest of it is so good that I can overlook it, much like I overlooked the misstep that was “Lies” on Marina & the Diamonds Electra Heart. Simply put, there was no album this year that approached the level of consistency and coolness of Where Did This Door Go. I can see myself listening to this for years to come a la Confessions on a Dance Floor and Aphrodite. That the album was so good helps me to get over Hawthorne’s eschewing of his hipster glasses. I guess no one’s perfect.