There’s something untouchable about a band’s first album. Oftentimes they’re made before an artist’s big blow up; typically, they cause said blow up. These works are bundles of unsuspecting innocence. Take Leon Bridge’s Coming Home, for example. Released in 2015, the 10-track album is what catapulted Bridges to stardom. And for good reason. It flaunts a charming, throwback sound that’s simultaneously sexy — you can play it for your grandma, or you can play it on date night. It’s versatile.
And yet, there’s an imminent doom that often entrenches on that purified glory of a first album: the sophomore slump. We’ve all faced that disappointment; the artist’s first album was incredible, a work that carried you through a time in your life that you’ll never forget. Then they release the highly anticipated second album, and it flops. It’s the worst. Luckily though, if you’re Leon Bridges, you can just skip that phase altogether.
Bridge’s latest release, Good Thing, is the epitome of a magnificent second album. After waiting three years to release new music, it clearly demonstrates that Bridge’s wasn’t just procrastinating. The album is juxtaposes his classic style and daring new sounds. While “Beyond” features the old-timey flare that made us all fall in love originally, Bridges shows off his ability to blend genres in “Shy,” as he oozes confidence in this drunken ballad sung over a R&B-influenced beat.
Good Thing does what every great album should do; it takes us through a whirlwind of emotions. While Bridges isn’t known for his discretion, he remains open and comfortable in telling us how it is. As we start the album with “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” Bridges cautions himself to hold back on a budding relationship because of his ever-changing career. Very responsible. However, three tracks later and Bridges is calling himself a fool for not going for it in “Beyond.” I guess he got over the questioning stage because here he asks, “Will she have my kids? Will she be my wife? She might just be my everything and beyond.” It’s a story of doubt, hesitation, excitement, possibilities & nascent love.
And truly, we’re happy for him. In heartbreak and happiness, the 2017 Roots N Blues alum has a gift that undoubtably transcends the creation of his first album. He’s proved that he’s got a whole lot more coming, and we’re here for it.