By @Just_a_theory on Twitter
Likes: If I Ever Get Around to Living, Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey
Overall: With a likable slight country influence, Mayer touts he’s a changed man.
‘I’m a good man with a good heart, had a tough time, had a rough start,’ John Mayer swoons …perhaps his “Shadow Days” really are over! On “Born and Raised,” John Mayer faces his ‘bad boy’ image and lets us know that he’s moving forward with the man he wants to be. For those who follow Mayer, they’re familiar with his lack of filter and projected playboy image in press interviews. Without going too deep into specific instances, this album is his anthem for reform.
He first confronts his past with tracks like “Age of Worry” and then introduces us to the new man we see before us on “Shadow Days.” Mayer seems almost apologetic and humbled by where his experiences have led him, especially in regard to his love life. He focuses on the lessons learned on “Days,” which is arguably an ode addressing his reported fling with country starlet Taylor Swift. He sings, “And I never meant her harm, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make it hard to carry on.” He doesn’t stray too far from his growth in this department with “Love is a Verb,” where he expresses his knowledge of love and all that it gives, instead of his typical thirst for female anatomy.
My favorite tracks are “If I Ever Get Around to Living” and “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey.” I love the contentment expressed on “Living,” the bridge is fire and it’s the most melodically similar to Mayer’s previous work. With “Whiskey,” Mayer touts that his whiskey-water-sleep life was a phase, but admits he has far to go. One thing I think we all love about John is his ability to be relatable and he brings us that favorable characteristic with these songs. The title track “Born and Raised” is a great summation of the album’s ideology and provides great detail of his journey with the simplest lyrics, as Mayer illustrates his hopes and aspirations to build on his epiphanies. Those looking for the transparent and smart word choice version of John Mayer will not be disappointed with this album.
I find it fascinating that he chooses the melodic tunes and tones of country to introduce this “new man.” My theory is that country music typically presents these hard truths without being too heavy, like blues. It has an element of realness that is indeed likable. Great guitar solos and strong harmonic influences help paint the picture of a man truly “Born & Raised.” Am I saying that the album is proof John Mayer is totally reformed? I’m not. Am I saying there’s a good chance his new choice of material and wise words are well intentioned and show the grown man we’ve anticipated? Perhaps.