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Music Review: John Mayer's Born and Raised
  • May 22, 2012 : 06:05
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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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  • Anonymous
    I love this album. How boring would it be if all of John Mayer's albums sounded the same?...
  • Anonymous
    good to know Im not the only one that thinks sadly, this album sucks! hopefully we'll get room for squares part 2 someday!
  • Anonymous
    At first I didn't like the glaring echos to Crosby Stills and Nash songs, Neil Young harmonicas over acoustic tracks, the lack of awesome bluesy solos he did on Continuum and Battle Studies, and the obvious Bob Seger "Mainstreet" rip-off riff in "Shadow Days". But after a few weeks of running it over and over, "Queen of Cali' ", "Something Like Olivia" and "Walt Grace's..." are by far as epic of songs as "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" and as pop-y and catchy as "Half of My Heart" and "Who Says" and even as far back as "Your body is a Wonderland'". The Seger riff still bugs me, but I can usually hear past it now. When I listen to his other albums from front to back, this one is more cohesive from track to track. Although he still has the"girl broke my heart" songs they are less sad as the Continuum ones (those were my fav's when I had a broken heart). The riffs aren't anywhere close to "Neon" but they have great progressions and cadences. I even considered having my 70yr old dad check out this album and the coolest music he's ever listened to outside classical music is CS&N and CCR. This album is a lyric album, not a flashy solo album, or a heavy acoustic album. Listen to it without comparison to his other albums or what else is out there. Listen to the influences of those 70's iconic folk-acoustic bands in the songs and lyrics, like CS&N in "Born and Raised". Once you appreciate it at that level you will love it.