john mayer:
 room for squares (aware/columbia)

John Mayer is a twenty three year-old Berklee School of Music dropout that hails from Connecticut and now lives in Atlanta.  His debut release on Aware/Columbia records, Room for Squares, exhibits an amazing song writing maturity, depth and wittiness coupled with excellent musicianship that few lifelong artists are ever able to put together in one package.

Mayer’s voice is strong, with a hint of raspiness something akin to Dave Matthews.  The similarities between what comes out of their respective mouths’ end at that point.  There is a timeless feeling to Mayer's music.  You will not find yourself skipping songs on this album, they are all worthy of your time.

This is, appropriately, a coming of age album. Mayer glides effortlessly from one topic to another eloquently describing the tough issues that most face when making the transition into the adult world. On “Why Georgia” he questions his motivation and decision making skills.  On “My Stupid Mouth”, one of many highlight tracks on the album, Mayer describes the scene on a dinner date after he and his ‘stupid mouth’ have made another false move:

We bit our lips. She looked out the window

Rolling tiny balls of napkin paper

I played a quick game of chess with the

Salt and pepper shaker

And I could see clearly

An indelible line was drawn

Between what was good, what just

Slipped out and what went wrong. 

“Neon” is a groovy jazz inspired tune just as good as any modern jazz music I have heard lately.  Mayer and producer John Alagia’s attention to the small details enhance the beauty of this album.  “Neon” tells the tale of a city girl that is ‘always buzzing just like neon’.  The track is one of only a few that fades out, echoing the song’s description of ‘Neon’ burning herself out among the rest of the city lights.

“83” reminisces way back to 1983 when Mayer was a child.  His humor shines through on the lines: 

Whatever happened to my lunchbox?

When came the day that it got

Thrown away and don’t you think I should

Have had some say in that decision? 

John Mayer puts out an extremely strong effort here on his first label release.  He has the potential to introduce intelligent song writing and able musicianship to a generation drowning in Limp Bizkit ‘hot dog water’ and addicted to the seemingly endless barrage of sugary, no substance, pop puppets.  Perhaps there is hope for this generation of musicians and their fans.

Greg Beadles

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