Review : JOHN MAYER - Born and raised
NY Daily NewsJohn Mayer aims high on his new CD, daring to conjure the spirit of the classic rock gods.
“Looking for the sun that Neil Young hung/after the gold rush of 1971,” he sings in the opening song.
Two stanzas later, Mayer states his mission to follow in the footsteps of an equally inspired icon — Joni Mitchell, in her “Blue” period, no less. To flesh out his quest, the singer surrounds himself with musicians who actually date from the era and milieu he pines for, including David Crosby, Graham Nash, Chuck Leavell (of Allman Brothers and Stones fame), and Jim Keltner (of everybody fame).
It’s that lack of vulnerability and risk that most distances this album from its intended goal. Instead of being more frank and raw, its more meandering and numb than ever.
BillboardJohn Mayer's mouth has gotten him in all sorts of trouble over the years. His music? Not so much. "Born and Raised," Mayer's fifth studio album, follows four successful full-lengths, all of which have reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. Sadly, "Born and Raised" is the first album the musician will not be able to support live, at least for the time being: Mayer is currently struggling with a throat condition called granuloma, and canceled a planned spring tour earlier this year.
On his latest, the singer, songwriter, guitarist and (increasingly) harmonica player works with Grammy Award-winning co-producer Don Was and a small, tight ensemble that features Chuck Leavell (the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton) on keyboards, while Chris Botti, Sara Watkins, Jim Keltner and Greg Leisz make guest appearances. It's one of Mayer's most diverse and exploratory albums yet, trying on a variety of different styles to accompany a set of particularly reflective and soul-searching tunes....full text
ReverbInfamy has its uses, and atonement has its limits. John Mayer, who has come to grips with at least one of those truths, doesn’t want to seem ungracious in the face of judgment. He wants you to know that he’s his own harshest critic, even if he can’t help saving a piece of justification for himself. Over the past two years, anyway, in the wake of a self-damaging round of publicity and a corresponding shudder of contrition, he has plumbed the depths of his broken soul, returning with lessons in song.
So goes the irresistible subtext of “Born and Raised,” Mayer’s fifth studio album, a precious gift wrapped in burlap and baling twine. As palatably sure-footed as anything in his multimillion-selling catalog, the album — which he produced with Don Was, a veteran rock ‘n’ roll ego whisperer — nonetheless reflects a shrewd adjustment, swapping out his usual airtight gleam for a meaningful touch of Laurel Canyon folk-rock. The opening track, “Queen of California,” name-checks early 1970s landmarks by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell over an easeful groove cribbed from the Grateful Dead. The title track, about owning up to the passage of time, has background vocals by the present-day David Crosby and Graham Nash....full text
LA TimesWhether 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....full text
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