From its suave title to the very first words on it - “So here we are/ It’s the end of the night/ Yeah, I had a good time, too/ You know, it doesn’t have to end here’’ - Mayer Hawthorne’s amusing new album comes across like a pickup line uttered at last call. “How Do You Do,’’ his sophomore release, pays winking homage to a retro strain of Motown soul, R&B, funk, and pop. Here’s the trick: Hawthorne doesn’t take himself, or the music, too seriously; a man who sings, “Your cocoa-butter skin now/ Has got me begging for more’’ clearly has a healthy sense of humor. Sometimes his reference points are so glaring, they’re distracting. “Henny & Gingerale’’ is such a blatant carbon copy of “Got to Give It Up’’ - from the melody to the opening snippet of party chatter - that Marvin Gaye should be listed as a contributor. But once again, you trust that Hawthorne is in on the joke - and the first one to laugh at it. (Out tomorrow)
ESSENTIAL “The Walk’’Mayer Hawthorne performs with Chromeo at the House of Blues on Nov. 1.