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  • circa 1993
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    #379487

    1st Single: “Shadow Days” is top 10 on iTunes. 

    New Album: “Born and Raised” (Out May 22nd)  

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    iskolar
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    #379489

    Good thing he’s doing music again.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #379490

    Here’s “Shadow Days”.

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    Graeme O’Neil
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    #379491

    I like the new single. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a solid John Mayer track. Hopefully his album delivers. He’s never gonna top “Continuum”, but hopefully he can come close.

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    Atypical
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    #379492

    Nice single! There are some riffs and progressions that are just like songs from his old albums, but I’m digging the sound and message to “Shadow Days.” I thought that he would be gone for awhile, but it’s good that he’s coming back with new material. Hope it delivers.

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    Gucci
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    #379493

    I forgot all about John Mayer.

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    Atypical
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    #379494

    Time to get this thread moving again.

       

    Reviews upcoming. 

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    Atypical
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    #379495


    LA
    Times’ review:


    Album
    review: John Mayer’s “Born and Raised”


    May
    22, 2012


    Whether
    he likes it or not, five words have come to define John Mayer for many music
    fans: “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” the title of the treacly 2001 ode to a lover
    and her “porcelain skin” and “candy lips.” Also out of his control is the
    suggestion generated by two other words in recent years, “Dear John,” the
    Taylor Swift-penned hit that many speculate was about the pair’s brief romance.


    Swift’s
    lyrical description of a man with a “sick need to give love and then take it
    away” introduced Mayer (at least those who believed “John” to be him) to a
    legion of tweens who didn’t know Dave Matthews from John Mayer from Jerry
    Garcia, couldn’t tell the difference between Christopher Cross and Crosby,
    Stills, Nash and Young. Mayer to many became a man who played “dark twisted
    games” with a delicate 19-year-old flower.


    Simply
    uttering the words “John Mayer” in mixed company (necessary now due to the
    release of his sixth studio album, “Born and Raised”) will prompt a range of
    polarizing opinions. Whether it’s the hits on one of his five platinum studio
    albums stretching back to “Room for Squares” 11 years ago, his funny,
    self-aware appearance on “Chappelle’s Show” or his charming (and on at least
    one occasion, drunken) interactions with Ellen DeGeneres, the gestalt of his
    rambunctious years has made him lovable and/or lascivious tabloid fodder.


    The
    perception, which he enabled at nearly every step of the way, was that he was a
    man who moved through women like he did obvious metaphors. Combined, Mayer’s
    charisma, devil-may-care attitude and many talents have run the risk of
    canceling each other out. For much of the population, the first thing that
    comes to mind when his name comes up isn’t “really good guitarist” but any
    number of celebrity foibles in his past (i.e. Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston
    …).


    But
    that was then, the songwriter and guitarist tells us over and again on “Born
    and Raised” and during the media blitz in advance of the record. According to
    Mayer during his most recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he’s a
    different man now. He quit Twitter. He retreated to Montana after the
    corrupting pleasures of the big city did a number on him.


    Like
    William Wordsworth and Henry David Thoreau before him, Mayer checked himself
    through peaceful, easy rural isolation—and apparently listened to a lot of
    Laurel Canyon folk rock. Getting called “twisted” by America’s sweetheart Swift
    will do that to a man.


    The
    story on “Born and Raised,” produced by Don Was and recorded in New York and
    Los Angeles, is one as old as the ages. Feeling alienated by the pressures of
    the city, the Artist retreats to the country, where, cut off from the
    distractions, he creates in solitude, along the way finding himself,
    discovering what’s really important, weighing the adventure and corruption of
    his old life against the quiet meditation of his greener surroundings.


    On
    “Born and Raised,” Mayer has found a cliché as big as the Montana sky, one that
    contains multitudes of smaller clichés ripe for harvest.


    How
    do we know, for example, that canyon rock is on his mind? Because he
    specifically mentions Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” and Joni Mitchell’s
    “Blue” in the opening song, “Queen of California,” which sounds like a Grateful
    Dead cover of an Eagles song. “Joni wrote ‘Blue’ in a house by the sea,” sings
    Mayer, “I gotta believe there’s another color waiting for me/To set me free.”


    Mayer
    tries to experiment with color here, but as anyone who’s ever vigorously
    finger-painted knows, combine too many colors and you create a single hue.
    These lyrical scribbles color the entirety of “Born and Raised” beige. “I’m a
    good man with a good heart,” he sings on “Shadow Days,” seeming to defend past
    choices while acknowledging missteps. “Well I ain’t no troublemaker/And I never
    meant her harm,” he explains before declaring his “shadow days” over.


    As
    the number of first-person pronouns on “Born and Raised” attests (130 by my
    count), two years away from the city is a lot of “me” time for anyone, let
    alone a longtime East Coaster. And like any human, so much self-reflection can
    be self-distorting (see Kaczynski, Ted), can lead an artist to share internal
    epiphanies that seem unique and powerful but are in actuality basic milestones
    of life. That Mayer had a personal retreat when he was a wealthy,
    multiple-Grammy-winning 34-year-old singer and songwriter doesn’t make him
    unique, other than maybe as a late bloomer.


    What
    he does offer is an expert musicality filled with charm, honesty and melody,
    and a peaceful, easy instrumental touch recorded by Was. It’s the Eagles as
    channeled through Poco and America, with the singer’s voice way out front so as
    to minimize the chance of misinterpretation: “Now and then I pace my place,” he
    sings on the title track, “I can’t retrace how I got here.” On “If I Ever Get
    Around to Living,” he sings of a desire for home and reminiscing of teenage
    evenings spent alone in his room playing guitar.


    Those
    evenings weren’t wasted. Throughout the album, Mayer offers evidence of his
    guitar prowess, one that no doubt earned him much admiration as a tall, gawky
    teenager and continues today whenever he lands onstage for a guest spot. As for
    guest spots on his album, David Crosby and Graham Nash accompany him on the
    title track. As his stint at the Berklee College of Music proves, it’s clear
    Mayer can play guitar, and he does it ably throughout “Born and Raised.”


    He’s
    just not a very smart lyricist and has a hard time knowing what word
    combinations are cheesy and which ones aren’t. “Love Is a Verb” is a virtual
    remake of those old “Love is …” comics from the 1970s; Mayer describes the
    word “love” by what it’s not: a thing, a crutch, an excuse, a pile of IOUs, or
    (despite Bryan Ferry’s claim to the contrary) a drug.


    So
    the great twist is that love is no longer addictive? Or that it’s no longer,
    you know, a thing? And if it’s not a thing, how to justify the title and
    refrain of “Something Like Olivia,” in which Mayer longs for something—not
    someone, mind you—like the girl of his dreams, and with one little pronoun
    shift offers a glimpse into his proverbial soul. Quick, get this man something
    like a girlfriend—or something like a writing partner.


    —Randall
    Roberts


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    Atypical
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    #379496


    Entertainment
    Weekly’s review:


    Born
    and Raised (2012)


    John
    Mayer


    Reviewed
    by Melissa Maerz | May 23, 2012


    Details:


    Release
    Date: May 22, 2012; Lead Performance: John Mayer; Genre: Rock; Production:
    Columbia


    Taylor
    Swift, are you listening? Because this is the closest thing to an apology that
    you’re gonna get. After dumping America’s sweetheart, calling Jessica Simpson
    ”sexual napalm,” and dropping the N-word in Playboy, John Mayer is asking for
    forgiveness. Kind of. ”I’m a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time, got
    a rough start,” he sings on “Born and Raised.” ”But my shadow days are over
    now.”


    Lately
    he’s had some time for soul-searching. Last year, after doctors discovered a
    granuloma on his throat, he underwent surgery and was placed on indefinite
    vocal rest. Meanwhile, he moved from L.A. to Montana, easing into a lifestyle
    so mellow it requires a Stetson hat. Now he’s brought a laid-back country vibe
    to “Born,” tapping Don Was (the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) to produce and
    draping his folk melodies in pedal steel and violin. The Laurel Canyon music
    scene of the ’60s and ’70s is a major touchstone here: Mayer name-drops Joni
    Mitchell on ”Queen of California” and harmonizes with David Crosby and Graham
    Nash on the title track. And that ramble-tamble style suits him: You can
    imagine the onetime king of the Sunset Strip running for the hills to strum his
    guitar under Neil Young’s harvest moon. True, you can still play Spot the
    Ex-Girlfriend in the lyrics. (Is ”Queen of California” about Jennifer
    Aniston? Is ”Speak for Me” a response to Swift’s Mayer-hating on 2010’s “Speak
    Now”?) But you can also hear Mayer confessing, in his most soulful voice, ”I’m
    trying to find the man I never got to be.” And this time, you might believe
    him.


    Grade:
    B


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    Atypical
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    #379497


    Rolling
    Stone’s review:


    John
    Mayer


    “Born
    and Raised”


    Columbia


    *
    * * * stars (out of 5 stars)


    by
    Jon Dolan


    May
    22, 2012


    There
    have always been two John Mayers. There’s John the Musician, the neo-James
    Taylor of “Daughters” and “No Such Thing,” and the
    blues-guitar omnivore who can back Jay-Z and cover “Sweet Child o’
    Mine.” Then there’s John the Dude, sloshing his TMI all over TMZ, blazing
    a trail of famous ex-girlfriends, big-upping his supposedly racist johnson in a
    disastrous 2010 Playboy interview. Usually, Mayer fastidiously cordons off his
    music from his slash-and-burn public persona. But on his fifth album, he forces
    them into the same room and demands they work things out.


    Mayer
    is confessional and a little chastened on “Born and Raised,” sometimes
    affectingly so. “It sucks to be honest and it hurts to be real,” he
    sings on “Shadow Days,” about being burned by bad behavior. Mayer,
    who in the past couple of years gave up Twitter, saw his parents divorce and
    moved into a house in Montana, says he wants “Born and Raised” to evoke a
    drifting cowboy sitting on the open range, strumming his guitar by the fire.
    And it does, assuming the fire was built with old CSNY and Allman Brothers
    records. (David Crosby and Graham Nash even add harmonies to “Born and
    Raised,” an ode to hard-won self-awareness.) On “Queen of
    California,” Mayer sets the amiably introspective tone for the album:
    “Looking for the song that Neil Young hummed after the gold rush in
    1971,” he sings, pointing his horse to the Laurel Canyon of the mind.


    After
    the Gold Rush actually came out in 1970, but you get the point: This is a
    record about how hard it is to make arrangements with yourself when you’re old
    enough to repay but young enough to sell. “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey”
    is a Cali-country song about the tolls of sport-boozing; the gentle-rolling
    “Speak for Me” laments that rock doesn’t produce heroes like it once
    did: “Now the cover of a Rolling Stone ain’t the cover of a Rolling
    Stone,” he observes.


    The
    stylistic change-up and unburdening tone make for some of the most convincing
    music of Mayer’s career. He recorded much of the LP with producer Don Was
    before he had throat surgery last year, so his pillowy voice has a tug of
    parched vulnerability. As usual, his playing is restrained and elegant; he’s a
    singer-songwriter with a session man’s soul, so every breezy solo or
    sun-dappled acoustic spindle is comfy and luxe like a spun-silk blanket.


    Of
    course, this wouldn’t be a John Mayer record without a sweeping ballad that
    tries to gather the spirit of the age into a song. The orchestral gusher
    “Age of Worry” advises us—and, we assume, Mayer as well—to “make
    friends with what you are.” But the true soul-stoker is “Love Is a
    Verb,” a “Wonderful Tonight”-like slow dance that will loom over
    the spring wedding season like a soft-rock Death Star. “When you show me
    love/I don’t need your words,” he sings with a warm wink, leaving little
    room for us to guess which verb is the best replacement for talking. It’s one
    moment where the two Johns meet—kinda sensitive, kinda seamy. One hand on his
    heart, the other on your thigh, ready to go all the way as only he can.


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    Daniel B.
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    #379498

    With some of the best reviews of his career (73 on Metacritic, a higher score than any of his other albums, including previous Album of the Year nominee Continuum), and set to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 next week, I think John Mayer is a strong contender for an Album of the Year nomination, especially if sales remain steady, and don’t drop quickly.  If “Shadow Days” (or any of the album’s singles) crack the Top 10 on the Hot 100 (something none of his other singles have done yet to date), it will be hard to come up with an argument against a nomination for AOTY.

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    Atypical
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    #379499

    I’ll try to do a review soon, but briefly, this album has some of John Mayer’s most significant work to date. At first I thought that this country bumpkin phase of his was nothing but a contrivance, but the material more than speaks for itself (I mean, “Born & Raised” alone, goodness, just a gorgeous song). It’s too bad that his reputation has taken such a blow (and at his own doingI’m not making any apologies for him), and he can’t promote this material properly. I doubt that this will be an Adele case where the album is a runaway WOM hit in spite of the artist’s health problems, but hopefully it’ll find its audience over time, and the initial I-Tunes success is a positive sign. And bringing this all home with Grammy talk, I think that voters will latch on to this album in a strong way.

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    TWC
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    #379500

    I feel like this whole “alt-folk-rock singer goes country” thing has been done already. Remember Ray Lamontagne’s “Good Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”? That project had a very similar feel to this, everything from the sound right down to the cover art. 

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    Atypical
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    #379501

    I sensed the possible image contrivance at first too, but I think the difference between this and Ray LaMontagne’s last effort was that “God Willing . . .” was in many ways still in LaMontagne’s sound and wheelhouse, so the shift wasn’t that noticeable or surprising to people. “Born & Raised” is new territory that Mayer hasn’t explored like this before. Maybe with his John Mayer Trio group, but as far as solo efforts go, this work is nothing like his prior albums. He’s more folksy and “country” than he’s ever been, and he’s created some of his most significant material yet. “Born & Raised,” “The Age of Worry,” “Shadow Days,” “Fool for You,” “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey,” “Speak for Me,” “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967” (horrible title aside, this song is amazing and worthy of a SOTY nomination), etc., are all standout tracks. He should be in the AOTY conversation, and the backstory behind this album is a hook-filled one (abandoning his big-city excesses, drugs, and fast women for country life, making amends for his many PR blunders over the years, and health problems that might prevent him from singing indefinitely). As far as category placements go, I’d be fine with the album going Rock or whatever Folk categories are in place right now. The album is probably a notch too plugged in for the Folk field. Rock would be fine, and there are some songs here that could easily be placed in Rock Song and Rock Performance. If he ends up going Pop, so be it, but this album shouldn’t be competing with works from contenders like Rihanna and Justin Bieber. But to maximize nods in this new roster, he’ll need to submit in multiple fields. The album’s great and well worth the listen.

    Grade: A-

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