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Album Review - Page 2
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10:29 AM on 08/19/13
WhoSaidThat?
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Awesome review, no doubt. Though, VERY small nitpick alert, it sort of seems like you're insinuating here...

"trying to wring a radio hit or some current relevance from proceedings." "I hope it’s his parting gift to the radio world. Mayer is great at playing the pop game, but he’s so much more interesting when he’s following less commercial aspirations."

...that he might be adapting part of the album to be more accessible (better wording escapes me, I don't mean to say you're accusing him of sacrificing anything.) This is far more of an observation than a complain, for the record. Maybe it's a bit of a crossroads there. (EDIT: Yeah, I miiiiight be reading too much into there, haha.)
10:30 AM on 08/19/13
Thursdaysox
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Only heard a couple songs off this so far and I like it a lot. Saw him in Hartford on Friday though, and he was not so good. Sounded like his voice took a big hit after that surgery, which was a big bummer when he tried to perform his old stuff
10:32 AM on 08/19/13
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This looks poised to be John's worst album since RFS after listening to it 15-ish times. But considering the four albums in between, that's easily misleading, especially as this album's no less than the 8.5/10 it got here.
10:33 AM on 08/19/13
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As someone who absolutely misses the modern pop/RNB-lite Mayer perfected on Continuum and Battle Studies, "Who You Love" was a welcome addition.
That song woulda felt massively out of place on Continuum IMO.
10:44 AM on 08/19/13
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Really enjoyed your review and I agree with most of it. "Who You Love" is one of my favorite tracks, but that's just me. Frank Ocean's "Wildfire" should've been cut and his cover of "Call Me The Breeze" should've been replaced with an original. I feel like making those changes would've put this album on par with Born and Raised, but it's still a fantastic album nonetheless.

I saw him live about two weeks ago and it was one of the best concerts I've been to. If you have the opportunity to watch him live, do it.
10:51 AM on 08/19/13
evilandgood
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That song woulda felt massively out of place on Continuum IMO.
Hmmm I can definitely see your point, but I think his melodic and harmonic choices (especially favoring the 7ths and 9ths) are very reminiscent of the aforementioned albums, especially Battle Studies. I think it could play well with songs like "Half of my Heart."
10:54 AM on 08/19/13
Jason Tate
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Hmmm I can definitely see your point, but I think his melodic and harmonic choices (especially favoring the 7ths and 9ths) are very reminiscent of the aforementioned albums, especially Battle Studies. I think it could play well with songs like "Half of my Heart."
I could see it on "Battle Studies" as well ... but that's my least favorite JM album, so it kinda works -- since that's my least favorite JM song in a long while.
11:07 AM on 08/19/13
Craig Manning
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Awesome review, no doubt. Though, VERY small nitpick alert, it sort of seems like you're insinuating here...

"trying to wring a radio hit or some current relevance from proceedings." "I hope its his parting gift to the radio world. Mayer is great at playing the pop game, but hes so much more interesting when hes following less commercial aspirations."

...that he might be adapting part of the album to be more accessible (better wording escapes me, I don't mean to say you're accusing him of sacrificing anything.) This is far more of an observation than a complain, for the record. Maybe it's a bit of a crossroads there. (EDIT: Yeah, I miiiiight be reading too much into there, haha.)

I think there is a certain dichotomy between the mainstream stuff and the super old-fashioned country stuff. I don't think he actively sacrificed his artistic intentions to meet both sides of the coin, but I do think he's at a crossroads of sorts as an artist. He definitely wants to go down the more classic path, and that by default leads him away from his pop roots (as demonstrated by Born and Raised). I think that, with this album, he was either feeling label pressure to write a few big hits or wanting to get back to his previous levels of popularity.

In the past, he's always been able to balance his own ambitions and the desires of his radio fans really well. Heavier Things, Continuum, Battle Studies, they've all got songs that bridge the gap well, songs that do well on the radio ("Daughters," "Waiting," "Half of My Heart") and songs that probably would never make it on modern pop radio ("Come Back to Bed," "I Don't Trust Myself," "Assassin"). Born and Raised only really had the latter, and he didn't really know how to bring it back with this one, since the only kind of country that is really big in the mainstream right now is not the kind of music he would ever want to write. So he tried to balance it with guest spots and songs that aren't quite overtly rootsy as Born and Raised, while still keeping the bulk of the record in a very traditional territory.

This looks poised to be John's worst album since RFS after listening to it 15-ish times. But considering the four albums in between, that's easily misleading, especially as this album's no less than the 8.5/10 it got here.

Agreed with this. I'd give Continuum a 9.5, Born and Raised a 9, and the other two 8.5s.

Really enjoyed your review and I agree with most of it. "Who You Love" is one of my favorite tracks, but that's just me. Frank Ocean's "Wildfire" should've been cut and his cover of "Call Me The Breeze" should've been replaced with an original. I feel like making those changes would've put this album on par with Born and Raised, but it's still a fantastic album nonetheless.

I saw him live about two weeks ago and it was one of the best concerts I've been to. If you have the opportunity to watch him live, do it.

"Who You Love" I just think is a little bit duller than what Mayer is capable of. The lyrics on that song are some of my least favorite on the record. It sounds nice enough though.

"Call Me the Breeze" is also fine, but it's kind of boring, and I don't quite get why he likes including covers on his albums so much. I like them, but I'd prefer them as b-side (a la "I'm on Fire" from Battle Studies).

Hmmm I can definitely see your point, but I think his melodic and harmonic choices (especially favoring the 7ths and 9ths) are very reminiscent of the aforementioned albums, especially Battle Studies. I think it could play well with songs like "Half of my Heart."

I think "Who You Love" is either Heavier Things or Born and Raised. It's not bluesy or ambitious enough for Continuum.
12:02 PM on 08/19/13
Rysker6
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Really excited to check this thing out.
12:23 PM on 08/19/13
a nice person
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Love this record. The Frank Ocean song is the only downside of this record for me. Highlights for me are "Dear Marie", "Who You Love", and "On The Way Home".
12:24 PM on 08/19/13
shrem
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For me, Where the Light Is > Heavier Things > Continuum > Room for Squares > Battle Studies > Paradise Valley.

It worries me that this is the kind of music JM actually wants to make. He isn't lowballing anyone. He has always wanted to do more within the constraints of a pop melody. Quite frankly, Battle Studies seems like Continuum in comparison to Paradise Valley.
12:56 PM on 08/19/13
kmilongo
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While I love when artists experiment and tackle on different genres, and while I also love everything that JM has done, I do think this is his weakest album so far. The Frank Ocean track feels incredibly out of place for me. There are some great tunes though, like Paper Doll, Wildfire, I Will Be Found and Dear Marie.
I had no problems with Born And Raised. Now that's an awesome record. But listening to Paradise Valley makes me wish he went back to making bluesy stuff like Continuum. And that didn't happen to me with Born And Raised.

For me, it's Continuum -> Heavier Things = Room For Squares -> Born And Raised -> Battle Studies -> Paradise Valley.
01:11 PM on 08/19/13
Jason Tate
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For me, Where the Light Is > Heavier Things > Continuum > Room for Squares > Battle Studies > Paradise Valley.

It worries me that this is the kind of music JM actually wants to make. He isn't lowballing anyone. He has always wanted to do more within the constraints of a pop melody. Quite frankly, Battle Studies seems like Continuum in comparison to Paradise Valley.
It worries you? Why? You don't have to like the music an artist wants to make.
01:24 PM on 08/19/13
evilandgood
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I think "Who You Love" is either Heavier Things or Born and Raised. It's not bluesy or ambitious enough for Continuum.

Agreed.


I could see it on "Battle Studies" as well ... but that's my least favorite JM album, so it kinda works -- since that's my least favorite JM song in a long while.

Lyrically, it's definitely my least favorite JM song in awhile also. But I am in love with that chorus, especially how he pivots away from the song's standard chord prog in the second half of the chorus.

And I know it's pretty much par for the course in John's case, but his guitar tone on that songs is to die for.
01:55 PM on 08/19/13
shrem
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It worries you? Why? You don't have to like the music an artist wants to make.
Sure, I know what you mean. It's just the expectation people put on him, especially those who've lived through tough times with his previous albums. It feels bad but I can't help it. If I put myself in the shoes of a new listener, I don't think I'd mind Paradise Valley that much. It worries me because I wanted to like it. For all it's worth, it's just John Mayer lite for me.
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