Album review: “Born and Raised” redeems Mayer of his darker days

By Alyssa Demember

Arizona Daily Wildcat, U. Arizona via UWIRE

Since the release of his first album in 2001, John Mayer has earned a reputation as a singer-songwriter who produces quality music and continuously impresses live audiences with his mesmerizing guitar licks. And while his soothing, breathy voice and skillful songwriting has won him millions of fans, that big mouth of his has gotten the performer in a decent amount of trouble as well — like when he dated Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.

However, Mayer’s latest studio album, Born and Raised, is a redemption album — an apology for all of his past mistakes. It’s an album that literally says “Hard times helped me see / I’m a good man with a good heart.” Battle Studies, his last album, sort of represents the dark days, while on B&R, it’s as if he’s found the light. An uplifting vibe flows through the entire track list and the lyrics indicate Mayer’s desire for atonement.

The opening track, “Queen of California,” begins with the words “Goodbye cold, good bye rain / Goodbye sorrow and goodbye shame.” The song is an embodiment of blissful, up-beat chords and finger-picking on the guitar. “Shadow Days,” the third track and first single off the album, really stands out. It has a melody that immediately draws the listener in, and the guitar and piano
complement each other well.

“Born and Raised,” the title track, is another great one that slows it all down and serenades you with crisp harmonies and harmonica playing. Even slower is, “A Face to Call Home,” a calm
song that picks up around 2:42 with a great guitar riff and the repeating words, “Baby I could stay awhile.”

While the album primarily features crafty guitar pieces, it blends instruments like the piano, harmonica and organ as well. There is a soulful simplicity to the album that was well thought-out. Nothing sounds overdone and there’s no overkill.

Born and Raised is Mayer’s fifth studio album and was released in stores on May 22. It certainly has Grammy potential, so go check it out.

Read more here: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/index.php/article/2012/06/john_mayer_turns_around_with_new_album
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