John Mayer Is Back With Reflective New Album

After three and a half years, singer-songwriter John Mayer has released a new full-length album, reflecting on love, life and getting older.

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After two EPs each consisting of four songs from his new album, John Mayer has released the entire record. The Search for Everything is the seventh full-length studio album of the singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, and his most personal and reflective work to date.

Mayer clearly put a lot of ambition in the album, reportedly spending hundreds of hours in the studio. “This is the longest I have gone in the incubation of a record,” he told Rolling Stone. “I wasn’t interested in doing anything I’ve done before, and I wanted to stoke the fire of abstraction and just start punching hard.”

John Mayer

The 12-track set kicks off with Still Feel Like Your Man, a soulful ballad with a soft, laid-back, funky guitar feel. Other tunes with a similar groove include Helpless and Moving On and Getting Over. Helpless also nicely showcases Mayer’s great abilities on electric solo guitar, as does Changing.

Love on the Weekend, the first single released last Nov, is perhaps the album’s most catchy tune. While in this regard it doesn’t quite reach previous songs, such as Daughters, Waiting on the World to Change or Say, it proves Mayer still knows how to write hit songs. Love on the Weekend charted within the Billboard Hot 100 at no. 53 and climbed to no. 5 on the Hot Rock Songs chart.

On two of the songs Mayer has some great help on background vocals. The above mentioned Helpless features Tiffany Palmer, who according to her bio has also worked with artists like Bette Midler, Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige. In addition, she has written for Anita Baker and Patti LaBelle. And then there is none other than Cheryl Crow, who provides background vocals on In the Blood.

john_mayer 2

Overall, The Search for Everything is a pretty solid album. Mayer’s guitar-playing is superb. A review in Entertainment Weekly noted it’s reminiscent of “the most reeled-in work of Eric Clapton’s solo career.” Perhaps one drawback is that all of the songs are slow or mid-tempo, which does make listening to the album a bit monotonous after a while. Throwing in a couple of uptempo tunes here and there could have mixed things up, even covers of blues rockers, which is a genre in which Mayer absolutely excels. On the other hand, I get this would have thrown off the album’s overall focus on personal reflection.

Further commenting on the album, Mayer told USA Today it’s about “getting older and comparing my track to other people’s. Part of me is a quote-unquote ‘rock star’ and part of me is this kid from Fairfield, Conn., who really wasn’t made for this. That part looks around at the other parts and goes, ‘Is any of this OK? Am I alright doing this?'”

All tracks on The Search for Everything were written by Mayer. He also produced the album, together with Chad Franscoviac and Steve Jordan (executive producer), with whom he has frequently worked in the past. Mayer is currently on the road to support the record with an extensive tour that mostly focuses on the U.S., with a few gigs in Canada and one show in London, UK.  The tour is scheduled to conclude in Noblesville, Ind. on Sep 2.

Here’s a clip of Helpless from a recent live performance in Albany, N.Y.

Sources: Wikipedia, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, USA Today, Tiffany Palmer web site, YouTube

3 thoughts on “John Mayer Is Back With Reflective New Album”

  1. Mayer is an interesting character. I’m not 100% sure he knows what kind of artist he wants to be. On one hand, he’ll do the “this will get me laid” songs like “Your Body is a Wonderland.” Then on the other, he’s a smokin’ blues guitarist, good enough to jam with both Clapton and the Dead. Very odd. A review of one of his very recent shows says he divides his three sets – chapters he calls them – into full pop band, acoustic wizard/balladeer, and blues-rock trio. I remember seeing a concert on TV with him. The girls in the front row clearly had the “Wonderland” guy in mind, meanwhile, he’s up there cranking away on Hendrix stuff. I like the guy but it’s the strangest balancing act I’ve ever seen.

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    1. I agree, there is more to John Mayer than slick soft rock. This guy is a legit guitarist, not some “pretty boy light-weight act,” as it may sometimes appear at first sight.

      His excellent guitar work is the common denominator to all of his music, whether it’s pop or kick-ass blues.

      While I generally think Mayer is at his best when he’s playing the blues, I have to say I also like much of his pop-oriented stuff. I find these are really well executed songs with a superb sound. A tune like “Waiting on the World to Change” also tells me he can be quite soulful. I know it’s a big statement to make, but I do hear the ghost of Marvin Gaye in that particular tune!

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      1. I agree that if anybody can pull of this balancing act, it’s Mayer.Who knows? Maybe even some of the young fans who came to squeal at him listened to him play the blues and thought, huh! I like that, too.

        Liked by 1 person

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