That drum intro can’t ever mean anything to me other than Benny Benjamin opening up Ain’t Too Proud To Beg. I’ve made money singing that song. Please notice that I didn’t claim I earned money singing that song. I said I was paid money to sing that song. Different set of circumstances. Mayer Hawthorne is earning his money.
There really can’t be anything truly new in culture. The idea that you’re an artist so you have to constantly break new ground is silly. Humans have a trajectory as individuals, and as societies; humans start from scratch but their cultures don’t. Smart humans don’t reject everything that came before them out of hand. Winnowing through the dross to get the gloss.
After a while, the only way to do something truly new is to do something bad. After all the bad stuff is taken, you have to move on to malignant. The search for novelty over all things is a form of vivisection. You made a new animal, Dr. Moreau, it’s true, but it’s born dead. And ugly.
It’s hard enough to be entertaining, or interesting — hell, it’s hard to be plain competent. Holland-Dozier-Holland didn’t invent music. Mayer Hawthorne didn’t either, but being unafraid to plant a fresh crop in a fertile vineyard is a kind of bravery nowadays. Go, man, go.