[ Artist: John Mayer | Album: Born & Raised | Year: 2012 | Genre: Folk / Country ]
Born & Raised is John Mayer’s fifth studio album following the critically acclaimed ‘Battle Studies’ which many thought sounded too ‘pop’ after the massive success and praise that the album ‘Continuum’ received. Well, if people reacted that way towards ‘Battle Studies’,
i don’t know how they’ll react after hearing this album.
This time around, John Mayer opted to go another route in terms of genre and style, not that he hasn’t already proven how versatile and well-rounded his musical talent is — having gone through numerous shifts in genre from the pop-laden Room For Squares and Heavier Things, the bluesy Continuum, to the hybrid pop-blues-rock Battle Studies — Mayer now conquers the Country and Folk genres, and although ‘Born & Raised’ sounds way different than his previous albums, I kind of like this ‘folk-ish’ laid back country vibe that Mayer brings to the table. I guess it’s just a testament to how talented a musician like John Mayer is, no matter what kind of music he creates, there will always be something new and something familiar at the same time.
To me, the lyrics, the guitar work, and the added instruments are what drive this album home for me. It’s refreshing to hear the harmonica being used on several occasions on the album (sigh, I should really pick up and use my 1 yr old harmonica and learn some new tunes).
Now on to the songs, there are quite a number of tracks here that have high replay value, first would be the song ‘Love is a Verb’. This song is as simple and honest as it can get and the reason why i’m drawn to the song is that there’s a calm and soothing quality to it. It’s the type of song that you’ll want to hear at the end of a stressful day. My only gripe here is that the song is too short — the entire song only runs for 2 minutes and 27 seconds. Listen to the song below, put it on repeat and let it lull you to sleep.
The first single ‘Shadow Days’ is probably my favorite on the album for me. Here, Mayer sings honest-to-goodness lyrics that everyone who has had hardships can relate to – “I’m a good man, with a good heart, had a tough time, got a rough start, but i’ve finally learned to let it go.” The guitar riffs in this song are simple yet catchy enough to standout throughout the song. Genius, to say the least.
Also noteworthy to mention is the song ‘Something Like Olivia’, this song could have easily been on Continuum with its bluesy guitar riffs layered throughout the song. Sounds retro but it’s quite good and has a nice beat to it too.
Listen to ‘Shadow Days’ below.
This album isn’t for everyone and I’m sure not many will be pleased by John Mayer’s ever changing genre/style, but there’s no doubt that with this man’s skills and craft in songwriting, he can be (arguably) considered as one of the most versatile and accomplished musician in this generation.