Austin Mahone Makes A Respectable Return With ‘ForMe+You’
Up-and-coming Texas pop heartthrob Austin Mahone returns respectably on fun, suggestive EP, ‘ForMe+You.’
He’s back! Who? Austin Mahone! The former teen heartthrob returns with a new EP, ForMe+You. Mahone didn’t disappear after dropping The Secret in 2014, but he did keep a low profile. Even with his return, ForMe+You arrives with an understated rollout. Thankfully, the EP itself isn’t nearly as low-key.
“Love at Night”
On opener “Love at Night,” Mahone collaborates with Juicy J – an unlikely pairing to say the least. Juicy J kicks off “Love at Night” adding some extra oomph – swagger – to the mix. In the process, the rapper reins himself in as well. Mahone, being the heartthrob he is, doesn’t need much of an assist. His pipes speak for themselves. He doesn’t deliver a flashy performance, but he doesn’t need to – the vibe is clear as day here. Grown up – now 20 and approaching 21 – the former teen-pop wunderkind can sing about sex…. “Love at Night” is tasteful, never crossing the line.
“Pretty and Young” gives Mahone a quicker, more danceable joint. The record is still slated somewhere between pop and urban contemporary, the right lane for the up-and-comer. Once more, Mahone doesn’t over-sing, keeping things on the subtle side. To an extent, there’s the desire for a few more ad-libs or more killer instinct. Still, smooth A.M. isn’t a bad look, and he throws a little “stank” onto it towards the end.
Once more, Pitbull joins on “Lady.” Previously, the Latin rapper spiced up the infectious “Mmm Hmm.” “Lady” has a similar vibe, though not quite as schmaltzy or youthful. Like “Pretty and Young” which precedes, Mahone has the dancefloor on his mind. While Mahone doesn’t get too wild (in spite of his lust), Pitbull makes up for it. His performance is predictable.
“Better with You”
“Better with You” steps away from stepping in favor of a smooth urban contemporary joint characterized by its hip-hop swag. Mahone showcases more voice here, serving up more of his deadly falsetto. The songwriting is nothing profound – cliché – but the record plays to the pop singer’s strengths through and through. Again, the sex isn’t too far-fetched – classy.
Follow-up “Double Up” maintains a similar level of slickness and swagger. The production is magnificent – straight out of the modern R&B playbook. “Double Up” isn’t brand new, but for Mahone, this feels like the natural fit. More so than the dance cuts, he is able to show off his instrument.
On “Wait Around,” the listener easily senses his passion, particularly on lyrics, “I need you to tell me, baby / Tell me, baby, tell me babe.” He cools down a shade on the chorus, showing his poise:
“‘Cause I can’t wait around for you, you, you / ‘Cause I got too many things to prove, ooh / I think it’s time that you choose / what this really means to you…”
The best moment is the bridge, where another magnificent appearance of falsetto rears its head. The main rub is that “Wait Around” sounds too much like a contemporary or Mahone – Justin Bieber (“Love Yourself.”) Also, it’s feels a bit lengthier than its 4:15, despite a sound performance.
Penultimate record, “Except For Us” piques interest more – the M.O. is sex, again. In reiteration, Mahone doesn’t go crazy. No, he’s just gonna “give it to you like you’ve never been kissed,” that’s all! Suggestive, not explicit…the power of innuendo.
“Shake It for Me”
“Turn the bedroom to a nightclub!” What?!?! “Shake It for Me” concludes the EP, with an assist from 2 Chainz. Like the appearance of Juicy J, 2 Chainz wouldn’t be the first collaborator that comes to mind for Austin. Still, who wouldn’t want Chainz on the track? Of course, “Shake It for Me” is about…wait for it…sex. To his credit, Mahone spits more game than expected here.
All in all, ForMe+You is an enjoyable EP from Austin Mahone. The project oozes with potential. Arguably there’s some unevenness, but for the most part, Mahone is on. While the topic of sex doesn’t allow for incredible depth, at this point in his career, it’s what’s expected of a twenty-something. He’s young and naturally, the bedroom crosses his mind a time or two. Ask Zayn about it.
Gems: “Love at Night,” “Better with You,” “Double Up” & “Shake It for Me”