While every genre and style of music presents us with something unique and intriguing to consume, there’s something really special about vocal music. The godfathers of standards – from Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole – were always backed by really great bands, but it was their voice and the majesty of its echo that really attracted crowds by the hundreds. Singing is often considered but a mere accent to an otherwise complex musical track, but for artists like the brilliant Hughie Mac, it can be the centerpiece of their entire sound. Hughie Mac doesn’t claim to be reinventing the structure and delivery of pop music as a whole; in a fact, he would likely tell you that he’s trying to do the exact opposite with his new album Hughie Mac Sings Some Great Songs, Pt. 3. Mac looks back in time over the course of this album’s litany of dynamic material, which spans decades of the universal pop catalogue and diversely exhibits all of the skill that this enthralling vocalist brings to the table. It’s one of the smoothest playing records of 2018 and could be described as required listening for anyone who enjoys a slick pop beat in the tradition of the old school.
Hughie Mac elegantly works his way through the greatest songs in history in his new album, and you can tell that he handpicked all of them to exclusively suit his ideal vocal range, which even when pushed to the limit seems capable of translating almost any note into pure sonic gilt. “Come Dance With Me,” “Desperado” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” require no introduction in terms of cultural significance, but somehow Mac manages to make them sound like originals, despite the fact that most of us have probably heard these three songs alone at least a thousand times by just as many artists. He has a visceral command of the music in every track, guiding us into the depths of his artistry and demonstrating how intimately connected he is to the sensibilities of love, retrospection and expressive thought. He might not have penned these songs, but were I not as educated about music as I am you probably could have fooled me into thinking he did.
With a much vaster grasp of rhythm, soul and vocal harmonies than anyone else in contemporary pop, Hughie Mac has emerged from obscurity in the last few years to become one of the most critically acclaimed vocal artists in the entire industry. Just one listen to his music and you’ll become instantly addicted to his delicate sway and aesthetically pleasing demeanor, which recalls a much simpler and straightforward time in pop. Mac’s music doesn’t require overdubs, synthetic beats nor over processed vocal tracks to make his sound larger than life. It just takes him, a microphone, and an audience eagerly awaiting a smooth melody for him to really come to life and show us everything he’s got. I hope he doesn’t slow down anytime soon, because 2019 is going to need a singer of his caliber to keep the scene interesting.