By Kyle Collis
A sense of nostalgia is the most prevalent emotion when listening to John Mayer’s new album Born and Raised. Whether it is the untainted style of all the songs or the candidness in which he delivers them, Mayer brings across an innocence which many only experience in their earlier years. He has always been a great story teller yet this album epitomises everything his fans adore about him. His latest album comes after a three year gap in which his previous album Battle Studios was released.
A slight throwback is clearly evident in the tone of the album, with a contemporary feel being replaced with a more mature and evocative one. The songs are all about his personal life and the number of controversies that have surrounded him within a massive public gaze, leading to an unwanted image of him being portrayed through the media. Although this all comes across, it is hard to escape the impulse of becoming introspective when listening to the album. No greater compliment can be given, as the ability to connect with one’s fans in such a way is something that every musician strives for. Poignancy with a raw edge that few artists can ever achieve along with a voice to perfectly complement his music is what makes Mayer so special. Whilst reaping the rewards from the meretriciousness of today’s music industry, Mayer’s humility is equally refreshing as it is endearing. His honesty may see him attracting unwanted attention too often, yet it is this very trait that makes Born and Raised such a deeply profound piece of work.
Each song on the album reveals more and more about Mayer’s character and the problems he has faced throughout his career, possibly none more than Shadow Days. Divulging on a previous relationship, he recalls the moments of joy that were cut short due to his own personal flaws. A sense of regret is evident, especially when he claims that by just being himself was the main reason why their relationship was destined to fail. He felt that he would have lost a part of himself by changing into what she needed from him. The pain he feels comes from the fact that the love was always there but it was restricted by something he had very little control over.
Far from melodically ground-breaking, Born and Raised is more about Mayer’s ability to tell stories through his bluesy music. While the album may be initially perceived as somewhat monotonous, a greater fondness for it will arrive when delving into the words which tell us so much about a complicated yet brilliant musician.