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Albums: July 19, 2013

Reviews of the latest songs from Mayer Hawthorne, Sara Bareilles, and more

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Mayer Hawthorne, Where Does This Door Go
On his fourth album, Hawthorne finally finds the right sonic escort for his L.A. lounge-lizard croon: Mr. Summer 2013 himself, Pharrell Williams. As co-producer, Williams polishes This Door with ’70s sundeck funk, slinking and wiggling between dance-floor fillers (”Wine Glass Woman”) and charmingly heartfelt story-songs like the exquisite filial tribute ”Reach Out Richard.” A-Kyle Anderson

Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
She may be best known for jaunty-quirky fare like 2007’s ”Love Song” and the current self-esteem anthem ”Brave,” but Bareilles has always fared best on stripped-down deep cuts — the piano-backed tracks that showcase her ability to switch between airy sweetness and surprisingly smoky soul. This is true of Unrest, which finds her channeling Fiona Apple (”Hercules”) and Florence Welch (”Chasing the Sun”) on a lovely collection of confessional sketches. B+Grady Smith

Cody Simpson, Surfers Paradise
The 16-year-old Australian elicits shrieks from the J-14 crowd, but his sunny single ”Pretty Brown Eyes” never really took off on mainstream radio. Nothing on this eight-song LP matches that track’s sugar-rush infectiousness, but it’s a pleasant-enough diversion for his dedicated army of fangirls. B-Grady Smith