Mixtape Review-Summer Breeze by William Bolton
Whenever music is too referential it becomes a distraction. Usher is in love with Michael Jackson; Robin Thicke has a Marvin Gaye fixation that makes him sound like Tom Jones doing Marvin Gaye. The list goes on and on. One of the things I love most about William Bolton’s new mixtape Summer Breeze is even though it leans on R&B samples any music lover will recognize (tip of the hat to Al Green) the music never implants a direct predecessor into your minds eye. William Bolton is just himself.
If you find the production credits most tracks are constructed by Times New Roman which is just a moniker Bolton goes by when producing. So if you hear Detroit (1,2,3,4) and think the horns leading into the clapping is all too perfect its him behind it. These songs go down smooth as cold lemonade on a hot summer day. If you think Summer Breeze is cheesy you’ve just stumbled upon its greatest strength. On Make You Mine he has an affair with the girl that lives upstairs in his apartment complex and it starts with the explanation “girl you got the greatest style and your skin that looks like caramel. You always give me a smile every time you go and get the mail.” Most popular R&B is about stuff the populous can’t really connect with. How many bottles do most people really pop? How many private jets do we fly? The cheese factor present is a genuine emotional connection to the reality most of us are familiar with.
I appreciate how much Bolton appreciates R&B as a genre. I like that he planted the Isley Brothers guitar sample from their song Summer Breeze on the title track (different songs no cover). I like that Honey Bee feels like it could be a mid-sixties Motown song and the guest list for this project is two people, none of whom rap. I like that both Let’s Stay Together and Summer Breeze are named after important songs in the R&B world and neither are covers. According to the internet this is Bolton’s first project and it’s full of intelligent decisions that show you a full range of skill.
Summer Breeze is twelve tracks and I would still love it with eight more. His voice floats atop the thick soulful horns and piano on When The Sun Goes Down without a hint of stress. Bud Light sounds so catchy and fresh you forget that swearing is prominent in the chorus (you may swear along without noticing). The songs are all distinctly different but doubtlessly unified by an artistic vision of music without vast separation between old school and new school. Where generations of classical influence can carry the head nod bumpability of a hip hop song while fearlessly planting a flag for the charm the genre always presented. The likable soul singer. I would say I missed this kind of music but I’m not sure it was ever prominent enough in my lifetime for me to miss. Instead of having to dig for old soul albums where smiling along with the music is still allowed, I can bump this.
Stream or download Summer Breeze below: