It was quite clear when Lawrence’s lead single “Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me?” from its debut album went viral that the eight-piece soul-pop band would gradually move up the ranks, dominate the landscape and form into a force to be reckoned with.
But watching Lawrence tackle different styles with ease and set the standard for how music is supposed to make people feel — on top of the world — has been not only a joy, but also a privilege. The group’s latest album, Hotel TV, epitomizes that.
After its sophomore album, Living Room, the sibling-led Lawrence — the product of Clyde and Gracie Lawrence — opened for Jon Bellion on his Glory Sound Prep Tour and became the first signee of his record company, Beautiful Mind Records. After that, Clyde co-led the charge on the soundtrack for the Disney movie Noelle. Ever since, Lawrence has been dropping upbeat singles here and there (excluding the gut-wrenching “The Weather”) to create hype for Hotel TV.
Though a majority of the singles sound like Lawrence was taking a poppier approach under the new direction of Bellion, the never-before-heard tracks throw that notion right away. “Jet Lag” sounds like a distant cousin of “Play Around” from the group’s debut, Breakfast, with its subdued keys gently brushing against Clyde’s soul-infused vocals. The closer, “Figure It Out (A Song Between Siblings),” is like a long hug, with the siblings apologizing for the times they’ve hurt each other and shooting out reminders of their love. It fades away by melding together snippets of the other tracks off the album, reminiscent of Bellion’s “Hand of God.”
Most importantly, Hotel TV feels like a quarantine album. It combines the passion needed to overcome all of COVID-19’s obstacles as well as the hard times, the moments where we wanted to blow up and the instances where we wanted to give up but didn’t. It looks back while looking ahead, providing a little bit of everything to help with whatever comes next.
Here are the best three tracks from Hotel TV:
3. “Don’t Move”
This track doesn’t take much to shine. Tender keys and strums echo off the eerily quiet room, where Clyde is found breaking the tension with his significant other. Even though things aren’t going well, he pleads with them to stay a little while longer, with Gracie adding pacifying harmonies to alleviate the situation even more. The track is definitely Breakfast-esque, with soft-to-the-touch vocals and stripped back but worthwhile production galore.
2. “Hotel TV”
The title track is the album’s immediate reminder that Lawrence may never stray from its soul roots — and for good reason. As Gracie watches TV by herself, she thinks about her significant other who she hasn’t seen in who knows how long — probably due to the pandemic — and lets the loneliness creep in. Without music, which mainly consists of zippy synths and a funk-filled guitar, the lyrics sound like a diary entry made during a lonely late night, but the music adds a bit of hope, almost as if Gracie, who hits every high note with unbelievable ease, knows the end to all her problems is in sight.
1. “Thoughts From the ER (Silver Lining)”
This is a gut-punching look back on the past year, a time where too many people have lost loved ones. As Clyde and Gracie look across the hospital bed and think about a life without this unnamed person, they can’t piece together the idea that hope will follow them out the door. It’s not until they keep repeating to themselves it’ll be OK that they truly start to believe it. The track culminates in a release of emotion, with a zesty guitar riff dancing around the siblings as they mimic a church choir instilling passion back into the congregation. By the end, they confidently know they’ll find the path to healing. The track is hard-hitting, inspiring and the best on Hotel TV.