Heavier Things Fill the Void by Inga Sibiya

By Inga Sibiya

The album has a wistful melancholia to it.
John Mayer has mastered pedestrian story telling through song. His lyrics, which have an alternative-pop backbone, appear to be intimate monologues which have manifested into easy songs with cathartic guitar solos.

His tracks transcend seasons. Listening to him play in harmonious unity with the pitter patter of the rain on my window, I can close my eyes and let the versatile sound gift me with imagery of the sun creeping through my curtains.

From the very first track Mayer is kind to himself and the listener. Revealing his insecurities with a playful innocence yet he still maintains his feisty conviction. Mayer’s lines don’t confront the listener, but rather guides them through their own emotional state with the use of suggestive lyrics.

John Mayer’s first four tracks parallel his mini-me Teddy Geiger. Although lyrically rich lack the white-boy-blues tone Mayer is so acclaimed for. This is avenged by tracks like Come Back to Bed, Daughters and Split Screen Silence.

Something’s Missing redeems Mayer’s pretty-boy-problems rant. The bridge creates a desired transition from the sensitively light to emotional turmoil delicately.

New Deep is typical to the 90’s feel good song genre. The intellectually stimulating confessions delivered nonchalantly paired with the happy-go-lucky tune are comparable to Desiree and her didactic repertoire. I can imagine Mayer in the left overs of Matchbox 20 Unwell video set singing at the camera and adorable having conversations with the people behind it. Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn springs to mind, images of her laughing at her staged on screen mess ups would pair perfectly with this light heartedly dense track

-content state of bliss-

I listened to the track five times before listening to the rest of the album. It resonated in an intimate part of me: the awkward insecure little girl whose just been told that maybe, just maybe a round peg shouldn’t fit into a square whole.

Suddenly there’s a drop. The tangible heart wrenching drop that Split Screen Silence brings. The desperate anxiety created by the sticks softly running along the drum tops juxtaposed by the defeated cries of the violin creates a scene of loves rejection. Mayer’s voice peeks into the listener’s pain; it searches in the corners where they have hidden their hurt and sings it back to them. The listener can identify with the tracks honesty because every individual has felt this to some degree or another.

As the album draws to a close Mayer returns to the light hearted acoustic-type sound with which he began. Like a typical soul artist the album, takes you from current to the depths of yourself. It forces you to address anguish and struggle before optimistically laying you to rest on a bed of pillows. Wheel is that such experience. There’s a comfort in the lethargia Mayer’s lyrics bring. Each finger fiddle of the guitar strings prompt the twitch of a smile. The lazied song creates a serene contentment. The memory Mayer leaves the listener with is, “I believe my life’s ‘gonna see the love I give return to me”

Heavier Things, released in 2003, follows Mayers’ first studio album Room for Squares, released in 2002. It introduces the listener to an eclectic artist. Whether it be alternative pops version of Jamie Cullum, Dido‘s male counterpart, a white man with soul or-quite frankly- all three and so much more. This guy is some kind of wonderful; his tracks tell you truths about yourself you thought you had successfully kept secret.


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