John Mayer

Paradise Valley

Written by: HES on 16/09/2013 22:18:14

First off, I'll have ya'll know that "Room For Squares" and "Heavier Things" were on repeat in my teenage room CD-player. John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland", "Bigger Than My Body" and "Why Georgia" are probably some of the best pop songs written in the 00s and transcend any genre in their naïve and simple expression. Then came "Continuum" and some of us became lost. I personally never fell back in love, but have been wanting ever since to feel those sweet butterflies that Mr. Mayer once startled in my belly. "Paradise Valley" however, is the album that finally made me fall completely out of love with Mayer.

Recently becoming more of a star because of who he has dated (yes, Taylor Swift), John Mayer has not really peaked the charts since "Heartbreak Warfare" off 2009's "Battle Studios" with the album "Born and Raised" kind of flying under the radar. Gentler country-ish songs off this album like "Speak For Me" - in hindsight - forewarned us that things were coming up country for John Mayer. But I doubt anybody was prepared for the absolute farce "Paradise Valley" is.

"Call me The Breeze" is absolutely old school country - originally by JJ Cale - but as it goes for country, it's all about the narrative. And John Mayer just isn't believable as a The Breeze-character. "Who You Love" is practically the saddest excuse for a ballad, sauced in country-style finger played guitar, and Katy Perry, who is featuring, is reduced to a sad backup singer at the local talent show. "Wildfire" does have a little bit of zest to it, but is quickly forgotten even after a few listens.

The album seems to have John Mayer's usual songwriting on top of a country background as a contrasting element. I guess his music has always been a tad corny, but this setup does not exactly butch up anything. At the former "Born and Raised"-album the country-part was more of an add-on but on "Paradise Valley" it's up, front and centre and you get a sneaking feeling that someone might be missing behind the wheel here - someone being John Mayer himself. Supposedly Mayer had throat-surgery before recording the album and we should feel bad for him and all that, but when he can't reach the lower notes of "You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down" things go from bad to unacceptable. All in all, this album seems more like a charade or dress-up to me. John Mayer has borrowed some country-clothing but doesn't really fit them - I mean, just look at the album cover. The only thing carrying this album anywhere is Mayer's craftsmanship on the guitar.


Download: Waiting On The Day, Wildfire
For the fans of: Gavin Degraw, Matt Nathanson, Mat Kearney
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.08.2013

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