I won’t deny it. I love John Mayer. Not the person, jfc he’s a train wreck. However, musically, he speaks to me. There’s something about that pretentious idiot and his dulcet tones that keeps pulling me back, album after album.
Paradise Valley (2013) is the latest album and although I’ve owned it for at least 12 months, I’ve not listened to it in its entirety until recently. On first listen last year, I was not impressed but its grown on me. More folksy than previous albums, but not quite as bluesy as others, it seems stuck somewhere between Born and Raised and Battle Studies, with a country feel to some tracks. Its easy to listen to and ever so slightly pathetic. Which for some reason, really appeals to me.
As an album it flows together well, the songs blend and nothing is it too different. The standout track is Call Me the Breeze which – as Google has just told me – is a Lynard Skynard song. Its unfortunate that most of the better songs on his albums are covers (Bold as Love, Crossroads, Free Fallin’, I Don’t Need No Doctor etc). He’s the Michael Buble of blues. Excellent covers and semi-fair original content. To give him his dues, the best original song on the album is Wildfire and its Frank Ocean reprise. The former is up-beat and a summery, definitely a driving song. Whereas the latter is soft, gentle and profoundly lonely. They are exact opposites which is why it works so well. You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down is also noteworthy and, if you like that sort of thing, the intro is very reminiscent of Hank Williams or perhaps Conway Twitty.
I’ll refrain from saying some songs are bad, because they’re not necessarily bad. They’re just…you know…not that good. Who am I kidding, they’re whiny. Take Who You Love for example. This track features Mayer’s then girlfriend Katy Perry who is known for being wild and colourful. This song is very subdued. The music video, well. Awkward just about sums it up. I wouldn’t recommend it. Let’s just say its not exactly lyrically genius and leave it at that. Paper Doll is along the same lines and it makes me feel just a little bit sick. Mayer does that sometimes (see Your Body is a Wonderland).
This mint green is new for spring
My love didn’t cost a thing
If I had to, I’d give it a solid 6/10. Its not the best album he’s produced but its not as bad as Born and Raised.