John Mayer’s Empty 1980s Surplus


Yet despite all the stylistic cosplay of the album’s visual presentation, very little of that aesthetic is in songs, mostly overly beautiful, sometimes oh-he-really-pulled-it-off nostalgic, and more often sullen songs. “Sob Rock” sometimes crackles with the excitement of an artist breaking code in an outdated style, but more often it shows how difficult it is to build a flashy house on a poor foundation.

Mayer got to this point as a virtuoso guitarist, a good songwriter, and a largely uninspiring singer. Overflowing with loose lyrics, none of that changes in “Sob Rock,” dulling the emotional broad aspects that defy deconstruction. “It shouldn’t be easy/But it shouldn’t be hard/You shouldn’t be a stranger in your own backyard,” she says. “It Shouldn’t Matter, But It Makes a Difference.” open “Shot in the Dark,” “I don’t know what to do/I loved 7 more women and they were all you,” he complains. “Why do not you Love Me” it repeats the sentence in the title, a child’s plea, in a way that is eerily to the nauseous, past the sweet, and tedious.

Throughout the album, Mayer’s singing is absolutely unconvincing. His syllables are indifferent, bored. In “Shouldn’t Matter but It Does” it sometimes feels like he’s leaving the lyrical placeholders he never returns to.

It’s where “Sob Rock” comes to life, as is the song outro that nods Mayer to a kind of musicianship that provides impeccable engagement and impeccable engagement with Dead & Company, which has been the main musical outlet of the past half-decade. . There’s a hint of saccharine running through “New Light”, and the end of “I Guess I Just Feel Like” is attractively dusty with guitar thick.

“Sob Rock,” which Mayer produced with Don Was, one of the ’80s and ’90s adult rock strongmen who worked with Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and more, is full of musical nuggets (“Last Train Home,” “Wild Blue.” ) is designed to trigger ancient pleasure centers. This includes behind-the-scenes cast including Greg Phillinganes, who played alongside Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, Richard Marx and many more; respected drummer Lenny Castro; and bassist Pino Palladino, known for his work with D’Angelo and Elton John. (Palladino also starred in Don Henley’s 1989 solo pop debut “The End of the Innocence,” a clear touchstone here.)


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