I have no idea how Leon Bridges hit the public conscious and then so quickly retreated from it. His debut record, Coming Home, was nothing less than a smashing success last year. The lead track became a viral hit on Spotify, and he quickly became part of many Apple Music playlists that I see claiming him as a vital part of the soundtrack of the lazy weekend.
All that being said, it seems like he’s largely been forgotten. I didn’t see him on anybody’s end-of-year best-of lists. And to be clear, that’s insane: he put out one of the best throwback R&B records of the past ten years with Coming Home, and deserves nothing less than all the success coming to him.
Coming Home excels because it’s a rare modern romance: it’s sweet and sugary without ever dipping into excess, unlike many of Bridge’s contemporaries. Coming Home isn’t about chasing tail; it’s about chasing love. It’s about being lovesick and forlorn about it. It’s also about being in love.
It’s also a total ear worm. Better Man and River espouse everything great about Leon Bridges: they hit that perfect mesh of when blues and gospel collided in the 1960s and created early R&B. And the songs get stuck in your head for days.