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Monday, October 19, 2020

Album Review: “Tuxedo II”

By Suzanna Leung


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Tuxedo is back with their album “Tuxedo II,” a continuation of their 2015 album “Tuxedo,” featuring the same dancy neo-funk style from the first installment.

“Tuxedo II” is Mayer Hawthorne and Seattle hip-hop artist Jake One’s second studio album under their collaborative alias, Tuxedo. The album is listed under the R&B/soul genre, but emulates more of a funk style with an almost disco-esque sound.

The opening track, “Fux with the Tux” serves as an introduction to the stylistic choices of the duo, who only wear tuxedos to performances. The song has Hawthorne and One singing along to a more upbeat R&B vocal line and also features Snoop Dogg for a verse. The beat stays consistent through the whole song, while the bouncy bass line accompanies the melody.

“Fux with the tuxedo, let’s have some fun. That gangsta boogie funk, it’s number one,” the duo sings as they close the song with a pitched version of the bass line playing in junction with the original.

This first song is already enough to get you to start dancing around your home.

Tuxedo continues on with their single “2nd Time Around” which steals the show as the stand-out track on the album. The track includes full instrumental backing filled with a funky bass, synth-piano, trumpet and many more. Hawthorne starts the vocal line, which fades in and out of a three-part harmony, adding more dimension to an already diverse instrumental line.

The song emulates the hopeful feeling of restarting a relationship that had previously fallen through.

“I think it’s gonna be better, the second time around,” Hawthorne sings.

“2nd Time Around” is also conveniently positioned as an introduction to the album and is the second track, almost as if to say that “Tuxedo II” would be better than their first “Tuxedo” album.

The eighth track on the album, “Back in Town” is highly reminiscent of funk from the 1980s, containing vocal harmonies, synthetic chimes and trumpet solos throughout. The song stands out with its catchy beats and grandiose chord progressions towards the chorus. Its lyrics continue to display Tuxedo’s feel-good party vibes.

“And I’m back in town. I want to dance tonight. I want to feel alright, and I’ve still got your number,” Hawthorne sings.

“Tuxedo II” closes the album with “July,” a slow-beat song which breaks away from Tuxedo’s usual mold of making upbeat dance music. Although the song is slower than the others on the album, it still shares Tuxedo’s funky charm with synthetic beats, chimes and instrumentals. “July” shows Tuxedo’s ability to create a soul-funk fusion song that is both a relaxing and catchy listen. The song is a nice change of pace and is a great song for the album to end on.

The album is filled to the brim with catchy songs that serve as the perfect tracks to introduce what neo-funk has to offer musically.

Suzanna Leung

As their lyrics said, Tuxedo was truly better the second time around with their release of “Tuxedo II.” Although the album follows the same funk style as “Tuxedo,” the album is much more multidimensional and diverse in its use of instruments and synthetic sounds to accompany Hawthorne’s tight vocal harmonies.

The album is filled to the brim with catchy songs that serve as the perfect tracks to introduce what neo-funk has to offer musically. The tracks easily blended together with their similar styles, but were still distinguishable enough to keep the listener interested, resulting in an extremely well thought out and cohesive album.

I highly recommend listening to the full album, but if you’re still on the fence then listen to “2nd Time Around” for a great listen and introduction to Tuxedo’s style.

Tuxedo will be performing on May 19 at the Wild Buffalo.


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