Soul singer proves he’s more than a throwback artist on ‘Good Thing’

With 2018's Good Thing, Fort Worth, Texas soul singer Leon Bridges brought the smoky, vintage sound of his excellent debut, 2015's Grammy-nominated Coming Home, into the modern day. Still, the Sam Cooke comparisons might be hard to shake; just like Cooke, Bridges started out primarily as a gospel singer, then branched out, fully embracing the world of pop and R&B.

It was clear even on Coming Home, though, that Bridges wasn't merely a throwback artist looking to get a slice of the neo-soul pie. It's not the spare, '60s-style production that stands out on a song like “River”; it's Bridges' stirring, naturally soulful voice and his simply stated conversion story, which finds him longing for salvific waters: “Take me to your river/I wanna go.”

Good Thing ditches the vintage touchstones for a contemporary R&B sound that manages to complement rather than overwhelm Bridges, who's more of a crooner than a screamer. The 29-year-old has also grown as a songwriter. “Beyond” describes the singer's fear of a potentially lifelong relationship (“I'm scared to death that she might be it/That the love is real, that the shoe might fit”) over a Nashville-indebted backbone and with a vocal hook that you'll be humming for days (and will likely never tire of). (Don't miss it)