Music Review: John Mayer's Born and Raised

By Vanessa Butler

John Mayer may be back to the music world with his latest album Born and Raised, but will not be returning to the tabloids anytime soon.

Playboy Magazine may or may not have inadvertently been part of the two-year hiatus of John Mayer’s mischievous stunts being plastered on every gossip magazine and tabloid site, but Mayer assures us in ”Shadow Days,” the first single from his new album Born and Raised, “I’m a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time, got a rough start/But I finally learned to let it go.“

It’s not like Mayer evaporated into thin air solely to lay low for a while after a couple of A-list breakups and the public use of rather narrow-minded words; Mayer was touring when doctors discovered a granuloma on his throat which caused him to cancel the rest of his tour indefinitely. Soon after, Mayer was placed on indefinite vocal rest after surgery. After this brush with reality, the guitarist decided to leave his life and the adoring paparazzi in L.A. and trade it in for the notorious Montana Mountains, long hair, a couple of jean jackets and a new folky sound. 

The track “If I Ever Get Around to Living” gives listeners a feeling of where he’s been these past few years, musing with the notion that all he went through in his 20s was some sort of bad dream. His lady-killer façade is still rather apparent, although toned down from the crooning blues tracks we once knew. The track “Love Is a Verb” shows that he still knows how to write a heart-melting love song. Fans of his earlier work may note that his voice may not be the right fit for the kind of country songs he’s writing, but like every 30-something male musician who has had a rough start, he needs to do some soul-searching through music.

The overall feel of the album reminded us of Bob Dylan’s album Self Portrait. We all know that there’s something not right with the album, but we’ll grin and bear it in hopes that another album like Room for Squares will be on the horizon. For now we’ll take what we can get from Mayer and be happy that he’s well enough to keep making music, no matter what genre it is.


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