The Bottom Line
17 year old Austin Mahone joins RedOne in the studio and lays down an argument for being the next teen male heartthrob in the pop spotlight. The aggressive production gives much needed heft to his vocals and echoes classic boy band hits. The overall sound is smooth with just enough punch to keep it all interesting. Look for a breakthrough hit here for Austin Mahone.
- Strong electronic dance pop production from RedOne
- Unexpected reminders of "Every Little Step"
- Thin vocals
- Weak bridge
- Produced by RedOne
- Released June 2013 by Chase Records
- Included on album 'Junior Year'
Guide Review - Austin Mahone - "What About Love"
The electronic dance synths that kick off "What About Love" make it clear this is a RedOne production. They are bolstered by heavy production in the intro which will catch your attention. Austin Mahone's vocals are a bit on the thin side, but they are bolstered well by the heavy background. An unexpected element brought to the song are the flourishes that make "What About Love" sound like an homage to Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step."
Beyond the memories of Bobby Brown's sweet R&B from a more innocent time in his life, "What About Love" is filled with lush chords that add a strong but not cloying sweetness to the mix. Austin Mahone has frequently been mentioned as a "new Justin Bieber." Those comparisons are to be expected due to his age and gender. However, this song is more in love with the dance floor and European pop than most of Justin Bieber's music. It may be more appropriate to compare him with the music of early Britney Spears. The extended breakdown into an acapella bridge raises expectations for Austin Mahone's vocals, but unfortunately this is one of the weakest moments of the song.
"What About Love" is not perfect, but it is a strong argument for a mainstream pop breakthrough by Austin Mahone. Time will tell, however, if his vocal personality can hold up beyond the masterful production of someone like RedOne. This is a solid pop record for summer 2013.