If we learned anything in this past year is that time almost went backwards with how slow life was in 2020. That proved to be a bit unfair to artist like Mayer Hawthorne who was dropping singles almost monthly before the shutdown. He switched it up once he saw the impact and dropped multiple episodes of his Hawthorne Radio and hosting his Wine & Vinyl Hour every Thursday.

Over the course of that time in quarantine, Hawthorne dropped multiple LP’s in the process and ended it 2020 with a collection of those LP’s titled Rare Changes. Let’s get this out of the way, the sequencing on this album is incredible. Song after song just compliment each other for the kind of listening experience you can throw on in the background for balance. This is a form of soft rock that wishes to hold on to its R&B roots. It’s a call back to the Isaac Hayes and Holland-Dozier-Holland productions that is a literal throwback to soul.

However, this is also a little different sound wise from his traditional Tuxedo sounds with the lack of female background vocalists. It’s subtle but, effective sound that hurts this album when so much of it is very good. Hawthorne isn’t likely to get back into the commercial circles he was in the early 2010s but, this is a perfect album to throw on when you want easygoing soul with some optimism. It’s a great way to kick off 2021 when you need to be uplifted.

Review by David Neff