Born and Raised
Released May 22, 2012
John Mayer has returned with his fifth full-length studio album in Born and Raised. His latest record is a total departure from all of his previous work. Born and Raised is basically John growing up and coming of age. By the time an artist releases a fifth artist, they usually either become mainstream or just sell out by choice. This is not the case for Mayer. He continues to dish out high quality music, year after year. This is rare in music these days and it’s nice to see someone accomplish such a difficult feat. Mayer had what I would call a “hangover” after the brilliant Continuum, with his 2009 album Battle Studies. I’m not saying Battle Studies was bad, because it wasn’t it, it was just his most generic release. With Born and Raised, Mayer escapes from his little slump and delivers big, even though his sound may have changed a bit. This is a record both long time fans and new fans will enjoy.
I was skeptical when the single off the album “Shadow Days” was released. I wasn’t too fond of the tune, as it sounded too generic and quite honestly, a little bland. My stance hasn’t changed much, but it’s one of those songs you have to listen to over and over again to appreciate it. It is definitely not one of the best on the album, in my opinion. As far as the album as whole goes, it’s filled with soothing melodies and honest pleas. In “Something Like Olivia”, John seems to be telling a story about a woman who he thinks is so beautiful, a woman he respects, and he is a little jealous of the man who gets to sleep by her side. The song has Mayer’s fingerprints all over it with those signature guitar riffs. Another track I want to point out is “Love Is a Verb”. The lyrics are up front and honest, with John simply saying that love is an action, not a “thing”. It is one of the most laid back and relaxing songs on the record, despite being rather short. “Speak For Me” is another stand-out number, with that “road trip” or “vacation” vibe. It’s something you just wanna listen to while driving down the road headed to God knows where, because it doesn’t matter, with this relaxing little tune. “Born and Raised”, the title track, is a slow, honest song that clearly shows John’s dedication to what he does. The lyrics are a coming of age for Mayer and scream honesty and a sense of bittersweet sadness. It is a very complex tune, with many different instruments, even a harmonica that gives it a Western feel. How could I forget “Age of Worry”? This is one of the best tunes on the record, offering signature John Mayer lyrics about not worrying about things and just pressing forward, with a catchy chorus to boot. The instrumentation on this track is some of the best. It sounds like a little parade anthem that will no doubt be stuck in your head after a few listens.
Overall, John Mayer delivers one of his best albums to date with Born and Raised, and will receive praise from critics and the general public alike, because it’s a high quality product from one of the best singer-songwriters of this generation. Mayer proves once again why he is one of the best at what he does, with a winning fifth album that is diverse in so many ways. The album contains fantastic instrumentation, trademark John Mayer lyrics and vocals, solid production and a whole lot of heart and dedication. It’s a shame John can’t tour at the moment because of his throat problem, but you should look forward to hearing him when he gets better, because he has new songs to sing and new fans to claim. If you like music at all, there’s no reason not to like John Mayer. The man is a musical genius and continues to improve in different ways. It’s been a long time since “Your Body Is A Wonderland”, but Mayer hasn’t stopped impressing. Born and Raised is an indicator that Mayer is still in his prime, regardless of his new hair cut and funny looking hat.