Leon Bridges released a pair of new songs from his upcoming sophomore album. “Bad Bad News” pushes Bridges’ vintage soul towards the dance floor, while “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” is an ornately arranged ballad.
“Bad News” is the peppier number, with a strutting bassline, surging backing vocals and flashes of fluid, George Benson-like guitar. Bridges displays some bravado here that was rarely seen on his debut album. “I don’t worry ’bout people in my face/ Hit ’em with style and grace and watch their ankles break,” he sings. He follows that with his best approximation of a James Brown scream.
On “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” Bridges’ delivery is more tender; he pushes towards a gentle falsetto that evokes the Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks. As an orchestra trembles around him, the singer tells his partner he’s moving on. “My life is fast, can’t make it slow,” he sings. “We’re here right now, kiss me before I go.”
These are Bridges’ first two new solo songs since he released his debut album, Coming Home, in 2015. Last year he also appeared as a featured guest on the electronic group ODESZA’s A Moment Apart and contributed backing vocals to the rapper Aminé’s Good for You.