Friday, September 20, 2013

Mayer Hawthorne nails = DOUBLE YACHT PUNS.

WARNING: Dorky chair dancing may occur as a result of reading this post.

I get excited about all the concerts I attend, but I was SUPER stoked for the Mayer Hawthorne show in Charlottesville on Wednesday night. He has the distinction of being the only relatively new-to-me artist I've been dying to catch on tour -- all the other performers I've seen live in the past few years are musicians/groups I've known about and have been following for forever -- so it was kind of serendipitous when I found out he was going to be playing in Charlottesville a week after my birthday. I'd missed him on a couple of stops last year as well as this one, but no more! This show was going to be my real birthday present to myself.

You're probably all, "Rachel. Who the hell is this Mayer Hawthorne cat and why have I never heard of him?" 

If you've seen this commercial or this commercial, then you've heard of him. But if you haven't:

  1. He is this Jewish guy who grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and who went on to become a hip-hop DJ in L.A. It was during this time that he decided to start writing vintage, Motown-era songs, so he wouldn't have to pay the royalty fees to sample tracks. --I feel like every freakin' interview starts out with this bit, so while I'm kinda over it, OTOH, I still really love that.
  2. The songs that he wrote were actually really good. His first studio album, "A Strange Arrangement," was released in September 2009 (thank you, Wikipedia! -- and also, I am here for anything that's close to my birthday). Two summers ago, a few months before his second album dropped ("How Do You Do"), he and Booker T. Jones appeared on an episode of "Live From Daryl's House," Daryl Hall's web show. (I don't know why the episode doesn't appear on the LFDH site any more, but hang on ...)
  3. That episode is how I discovered Mayer Hawthorne. I was falling asleep at work, and decided covers of Hall & Oates songs were exactly what I needed to wake me up. (Guys, I LOVE Hall & Oates. We can fight about it later.) A quick search on YouTube pulled up his LFDH episode, and as soon as I heard this, I was IN.

    He also did "You Make My Dreams" ... which is only my favorite Hall & Oates song ... and everyone KILLED IT.

  4. I was like, "DAAAAAYUM. Get it, white boy!" I listened to his own songs also featured in that episode, and for something that started out as a side project by a guy with no formal vocal training ... they were not bad. I really like that you can hear his influences -- all of them -- in his music. The next weekend, I ordered a copy of "A Strange Arrangement." The rest, as they say, is history.

Pretty cool, huh? Only now, you're probably wondering what this has to do with my nails.

Hawthorne released his third album, "Where Does This Door Go," a couple of months ago (in July). It had a few different producers (among them, Pharrell Williams), and he changed his sound up a LOT in that album -- it's a little more soul, hip-hop, funk, reggae, the "sexy" take on Steely Dan (my personal favorite description, because WHAT EVEN). I wouldn't say his songs are lyrically deep, especially since the new album is kind of clubby, but the beats are DOPE.

It never fails, Henny and gingerale.

In a interview, Hawthorne acknowledged that fans may not like his new sound. He notably also described his music as "yacht club music": In social media posts associated with the WDTDG, you have hashtagged certain pictures and videos with #YachtClubMusic.  You even had some custom Nikes with “Yacht Club” stitched on the back. Please provide the people with your definition of “Yacht Club Music.”
Mayer Hawthorne: Music that you would want to listen to on a yacht.  It’s as simple as that.  I grew up in Michigan and we spent a lot of time on my dad’s boat.  This is the type of music we like to listen to on the boat but it’s updated for 2013.  I thought about that a lot when making this album.

So there's that. Since I'm nail art impaired, trying to replicate his MH heart logo on my nails was completely out of the question.

The next best thing? YACHT PUNS. I grabbed my brand new bottles of China Glaze Too Yacht to Handle and FingerPaints You Yacht to Know Better and couldn't decide between the two. So I wore them both.

I used three coats of each polish and topped them with a coat of Gelous. Over the ChG I added a coat of SV, and over the FP I added a coat of NYC Grand Central Station.

Left hand:

Right hand:

Those polishes actually look pretty good together, yeah? They're wearing almost as nicely -- or at least, they would if I hadn't been peeling and coring apples last night. The tip wear looks so, so bad on my right hand (my dominant hand). I also have tiny chips on both my middle fingers for some reason, but whatever. I've had this on since Tuesday night, and I'm pretty impressed because FingerPaints is not a brand that wears well on me. Good job, Gelous + NYC GCS. I was shocked at how accurately the China Glaze came out in photos. The FP's sparkle is really fine, but you know it's there, and I liked that.

ChG Too Yacht to Handle is from the creme set of the summer Sunsational collection, which I've seen at Ulta lately (Sally's didn't get this neon collection this year, weird). I went ahead and ordered the entire creme set, and I can't wait to break them in! They all look like they'll be great colors on me. As for FP You Yacht to Know Better, it's from the A Pair Affair collaboration with ALU blogger Michelle Mismas. That collection is a limited edition one at Sally's, so grab it while you can!

Now you've made it to the part where I talk about the show. I'm not going to even try to articulate myself, but I'll say this: If you get a chance to see this guy and his band, GO. Even if you're like me and you don't dance, EVER, I promise it's still a really great time! There were lots of older folks there who were dancing like embarrassing parents and relatives at a wedding reception. That's how fun it was.

Since MH just released a new album, a lot of the set list came right off of that. But it was a pretty seamless mix of the new stuff, the old stuff and two brief covers that alone were worth my 1.5 hour drive, Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" (during "Designer Drug") and Hall & Oates's "I Can't Go For That." Seriously. I ask you, where the hell else are you going to hear someone try that?

Slow jams (Sinatra's "I've Got a Crush On You") before turning the cameras on for the "Reach Out Richard" video

I was really pleased with the show and would have been content to leave after buying a t-shirt and the deluxe CD version of "Where Does This Door Go," but then he came out a little later to sign things and take photos. The line wasn't too long, and the parking deck was still open, so I went for it.

I think we shook hands?, but I KNOW the first thing he did was look at my necklace and ask me, "Is that a corgi? Is that from COWBOY BEBOP?"

See? Everybody loves the corgi necklace! Anyway, I was thinking he would be a dbag, but he actually was really nice. And taller than I thought he would be. Huh. Anyway, he signed my ticket and the insert for "How Do You Do." Between the "Cowboy Bebop" drop and the correct spelling of my name (without me telling him), I was like, WHO IS THIS GUY???

And then I remembered "Rachel" is a mega Jewish name, so he probably had a pretty good idea of how to spell that. People misspell my name on the regular for some reason. IDGI. It's not that hard.

We also took a photo together, but I look fucking hideous in it, so let's just say I will (a) not be so hideous next time, during which point (b) I will rock the MH heart logo on my nails and it's gonna be great because we're basically bros now. Or not. But I'm really glad I went -- the new stuff is growing on me, and I'm really excited for this guy to blow up. I can't wait to see what he'll do next.

I know what I'm about to say is going to be really ridiculous, but it might help you if you're trying to figure out which album you'd like to listen to first.
  • "A Strange Arrangement" - you'd hear some of these songs if you were out on a date ... or between dates
  • "How Do You Do" - a lot of it is fairly wedding reception-friendly; there's a duet with Snoop and also some babymaking jams
  • "Where Does This Door Go" - yacht club dance party, emphasis on the club
  • The "Impressions" LP - baller covers, free and downloadable [HERE]!

If you're looking to check out his other tunes, here are a few other faves of mine, in alphabetical order:

"Christmas Time Is Here" | "I Need You" (Otis Leavill cover)|  "Private Eyes" (from his LFDH episode) | "Sound the Alarm" (a Booker T. track) | "When I Said Goodbye" | "You've Got the Makings of a Lover" 

Reading over this post, I think I'm a damn good fan to have. Just sayin'.

So, were my yacht pun polishes good together, or what? Who was your latest musical discovery? Do you have a piece of jewelry that everyone loves? Oh, and if you decide to start listening to this guy, definitely let me know what you think! (Jewish boys, man. I love them.)


  1. First of all, how do you even misspell Rachel? Rachael is the only alternative I can think of and of all the Rachels I have known in my life, I have known ZERO Rachaels.

    1. Add extra vowels. EVERYWHURR. Or you can be like my aunt and uncle and call me "Rochelle"/"Richelle" because that's also my name.

      I've known a few Rachaels. I always feel like I get called "Rachel" when I'm in trouble with my family, but I almost never respond when everyone else refers to me as "Rachel" because I assume I'm not the one they're talking to -- there's almost always another Rachel around (school, work, etc.).

  2. Yup, these polishes definitely look great together! How did you find the formula on the ChG?

    This guy has a great voice! Love a guy with a great voice! That's why William Fitzsimmons gives me such a girl boner! I will definitely check him had me at babymaking jams! lol!

    1. Thanks, Angie! Yeah, since I tend to work carefully, the ChG's formula wasn't too bad! It was just a little chalky, but I assume that's the neon coming through, nbd.

      The voice wasn't what got me. It was the versatility and the range of genres/styles you can hear in his songs! (I had to look up William Fitzsimmons because I had no idea who that is. IDK if I would be into his stuff, that kind of puts me to sleep?)

  3. Ooh so jelly. I haven't been to a concert in like FOREVER! I am glad you had a great time. I love the combo on the nails. I am a real nail art novice however I found if you use a dotting and do three dots and then connect it makes for a pretty decent heart. I can totes believe that peeps don't knoe how to spell Rachel.

  4. *dotting tool. My mind was moving faster than my hands.

    1. Haha! Thanks, Jennifer. :) Oh yeah, even my relatives stumble on that one from time to time. And to think I was named for another Rachel in the family ... !

  5. That Fingerpaints polish looks amazing! And your story just goes to show that Corgi love is a universal, unifying force. :) People misspell Rachel though? Seriously? But I guess I can relate; people always wanted to spell my name as "Chealsea" when I was in school.

    1. Thanks, Chelsea! Corgis are the best. :D But yeah ... you'd be surprised how many ways people spell "Rachel" and "Chelsea." It gets pretty interesting.

  6. So, I found your blog through Short N' Chic and I've been reading back posts. I stumbled on this one and THANK YOU. I'm only listening to Hawthorne's cover of Royals by Lorde but I'm hooked. I can't wait to get home and download some stuff. You've got a new reader :)

    1. Hi, Ali. YAY! Definitely listen to as much of his stuff as you can find ... it's certainly become "DO NOT CHANGE THIS SONG (OR I WILL KILL YOU)" status in my car over the past couple of years. ;)

      Thank you! I'm happy to have you. Hope to hear from you more!


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