Leslie Odom Jr.’s 'Mr': The Solo Album You Need to Listen to Right Now

Quarantine has been a time for many people, myself included, to discover new music. One of my favorite activities was finding songs and spending the entire afternoon blasting them at full volume while either singing or dancing along. One fateful afternoon I discovered Leslie Odom Jr.'s solo Album, Mr, that came out in December 2019. There are 13 songs, making the tracklist just 40 minutes long. Being one of the many people who are obsessed with his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, I took interest in his album and became immediately hooked. The songs are all different blends of jazz, pop, and R&B styles; each one is unique. However, Odom’s songs also compliment each other so well. Below are my thoughts and ratings on each of the songs in this album.

  1. 1. “Stronger Magic”

    Odom’s voice is perfect for jazz; it’s so smooth. This song is a fun way to describe how powerful love can feel. I love the build up to the chorus, especially his strong belt which precedes it. The way the classic jazz melts into electronic jazz and pop throughout the chorus sounds so entrancing. I wish there was more than two minutes and 39 seconds of this song.

    Song score: 8.5/10

  2. 2. “Standards”

    I get some serious Nina Simone vibes from this song, which is already a great sign. Once again, I fell in love with the jazzy style of this song. The instrumentals all sound so rich (the harp in the chorus is my favorite). “Standards” has an empowering message, preaching that no matter what point you are in life, you should maintain your standards and never allow anyone to treat you any less than what you deserve. Odom has you hooked from start to finish and sings with so much passion. 

    Song score: 9/10

  3. 3. “Go Crazy”

    I love the rhythm. It makes anyone want to get up and dance. The trumpets are my favorite part of this song. It’s really catchy as well. “Go Crazy” is similar to “Stronger Magic,” but with more pop and a Latin beat. It’s a fun song, but not one of my top five. 

    Song score: 7.5/10

  4. 4. “u r my everything”

    This is my favorite song on this album. I play this song on repeat every day because I love the warmth this song gives me. It’s a song that fully captures how it feels to be loved, to be in love, and to love someone — that’s why it’s my favorite. The tune is so heartwarming and genuine, and I feel like I’m in love every time I listen to it. Honestly, I would want my future significant other to sing this to me. 

    Song score: 10/10

  5. 5. “Under Pressure”

    This is another fantastic song. This is the point in the album where the songs slow in pace and have a less lively tone. The way the notes repeat over and over again is deliberate and meaningful. It makes me feel like the music is spinning around me, the way I feel my responsibilities spin around me when I’m overwhelmed. Odom's voice sounds calm until the climax of the song, where he resumes his power, belting out the notes.

    Song score: 9/10

  6. 6. “Cold”

    This song has a really warm feeling (ironic because of the name). It’s a nice song with a calm and soothing beat and melody (not to mention Odom’s voice just has a natural soothing tone). “Cold” makes me feel like I’m in a movie when I listen to it.

    Song score: 7.5/10

  7. 7. “Lose It”

    The way the tempo gets faster and the beat comes in mid-song is interesting, but there’s not much else that catches my ear. 

    Song score: 6/10

  8. 8. “Eva’s Song (A Psalm of Life)”

    OK, this is a recording of Leslie Odom Jr.’s grandma, Eva Mae Odom, reciting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “A Psalm of Life.” It’s a meaningful tribute for his grandmother and it’s heartfelt. Another reason to love Leslie Odom Jr.

    Song score: 10/10

  9. 9. "Foggy"

    The beginning of the song may feel a bit slow, but as it progresses, you see how meaningful this song is. “Foggy” reminds us how difficult it may be to make time and space for our loved ones in this busy world. It has a more somber tone than the other songs on Mr, but its genuineness makes the song so heartfelt. 

    Song score: 9/10

  10. 10. “Entr’Acte (The Joyful Messenger)”

    This song is purely instrumental, mostly strings. It sounds like the overture to a musical — magical. I’m still wondering why this song is in the middle of the soundtrack rather than in the beginning (maybe a transition into the more upbeat songs). It features Odom’s adorable daughter, Lucy, laughing at the end of the song. 

    Song score: 7/10

  11. 11. "Hummingbird" 

    Playful is the perfect adjective for this song. “Hummingbird” feels so lively and happy, my favorite kind of song. The notes bounce around in a playful way. It’s not as deep as “Under Pressure” or “Foggy,” but it’s still a nice song.

    Song score: 8/10

  12. 12. "Remember Black" 

    This song is absolutely brilliant. The lyrics reference how the United States was built on slavery. It also stresses the importance of recognizing the many contributions of Black Americans to American culture. The music is fantastic, and the way the tempos and time signatures change throughout the song just makes you wish the tune was longer.

    Song score: 10/10

  13. 13. "Freedom" 

    It’s a lovely song, and Odom’s vocals are especially soothing here. He shows off his range in this song. It’s two minutes and 26 minutes, but not much happens in this time. It doesn’t compare to my favorite songs, but it’s nice to the ears. 

    Song score: 7/10

This is why I love this album so much. Leslie Odom Jr. really outdoes himself with this album. His songs are genuine and meaningful, and each song is unique in style and feeling. So this weekend, sit down and relax or turn up your speaker and get ready to dance, and listen to Mr.