There are many examples in pop that a world hit can be creatively stressful. Not so with Bruce Hornsby – the US musician has casually freed himself from commercial considerations.

With all the radio stations that dribble “the best of the 80s” into their listeners’ ears every day, Bruce Hornsby is still a fixture today because of his huge hit “The Way It Is”.

In 1986, with its distinctive piano riff fraying into jazz and the American’s strong voice, the song became a prime example of sophisticated mainstream pop.

After many years with less spectacular but steady success – also as a soundtrack composer – Hornsby (67) has surprisingly and radically said goodbye to the commercially productive early phase. His new album “‘Flicted” is the third in a row with which this singer-songwriter docks with current electro and indie pop.

While Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) was a new sidekick before, Hornsby now presents his duet with Ezra Koenig (38) in the opener «Sidelines», after whose band Vampire Weekend the track also sounds. Top producer Blake Mills (35) is also involved in this single release, singer Danielle Haim (33) later on “Days Ahead”.

Hornsby also surrounds himself with trendy, highly talented colleagues for his latest work – hanging out with the old buddies of the 80s is not his thing. Fortunately, «’Flicted» doesn’t sound obsessively «hip», but rather relaxed, courageous.

Desire for new sounds

Here, an experienced musician credibly lives out his desire for new sounds and experiments that suit him, for example in slightly avant-garde tracks like “The Hound” and “Maybe Now”/”Bucket List” or in the cool Chuck Berry cover “Too Much Monkey”. business». And when Hornsby approaches “classic rock” or folk again, as in “Tag”, “Days Ahead” and “Is This It”, then Peter Gabriel, Sting or Glen Hansard serve as role models.

After “Absolute Zero” (2019) and “Non-Secure Connection” (2020), the three-time Grammy winner remains on course towards indie pop modernity with the twelve new songs. Whether a trilogy has now been completed, as the label PR suggests, whether Hornsby will then prefer smoother folk rock sounds again or undertake even more exciting style excursions (possibly consistently on a jazz album) – one looks at his development with some anticipation.