Album review: John Mayer — ‘Born and Raised’

By Maria Di Bianca

4.5 out of 5 stars

This ain’t rock. This ain’t country. This is John Mayer. And, yes, he did it again.

John Mayer, notorious for his egotistical brashness and profoundly crude words and acknowledgements, is seen through a different scope. He seems to have transformed while writing this album, which some critics are calling his best album to date. This new, mature John has an appreciative and reflective outlook on life.

After expressing controversial remarks in interviews with “Playboy” and “Rolling Stone” magazines, Mayer took a two-year hiatus from the “neon” lights and buildings with scaffolding to experience a nature-filled paradise where “Born and Raised” was, well, born and raised.

Mayer incorporates new elements of ’70s folk and Americana into his classic blues, rock and soul sound while still keeping his identifiable sound.

Big John Mayer fans know he likes to integrate his world-famous guitar-shredding skills into melodic, hypnotic solos some could even find annoying. This album is different — no two-minute guitar solos can be found in “Where’s Waldo.”

This album begins with the song “The Queen of California,” in which he expresses his happiness to have a certain lady out of his life who was bringing him down and his return to a cheerful, positive way of life. “Age of Worry” says life is too short to worry, and you should live your life because you’ve only got one to live — basically, YOLO.

Some say “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967” is John’s best song to date. It tells a folklore tale about a man named Walt Grace who rode in a homemade submarine. His family never had faith in him to build a boat and sail it, but one day, his wife gets a call about his death at sea.

“Born and Raised” was released at the perfect time, amid all of the new party songs being released this summer. This album will take listeners on a trip into Mayer’s heart and allow them to reflect on life’s ups and downs, just as John did while composing this exceptional and unique work.

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