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
Rolling tiny balls of napkin paper
I played a quick game of chess with
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
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.