New Album: Paradise Valley, John Mayer #MusicMonday

Monday, August 26, 2013

source: John Mayer's Facebook page
I know a lot of hardcore John Mayer fans haven't been happy with the direction his music's taken, but I love it and his new album "Paradise Valley" like I've loved just about all the other records he's made ("Battle Studies" being the main exception). Honestly, John Mayer's music has long had strands of country woven through it, especially with his bluesy tendencies. The only regret of his going more country is the decreased use of the electric guitar, which is probably where his skills are most prominent. But the electric guitar is still present on much of "Paradise Valley."

But all in all, "Paradise Valley" isn't a 100% country album anyway. Much of the album sounds to me like a continuation of his previous album, "Born and Raised," which was a heavily folk-tinged sibling to "Continuum." If I had to guess, Mayer cobbled together "Paradise Valley" during his forced hiatus (he developed throat granuloma, a condition that prevented him from touring the "Born and Raised" album) from scraps and sounds leftover from "Born and Raised." Both "Paradise Valley" and "Born and Raised" rest comfortably in a place that's reminiscent of the mellow rock of the '70s.

Lyrically, "Paradise Valley" is an album of introspection, regret and some humility. Unfortunately, when he soars melodically and instrumentally, as he does on "Who You Love," sometimes the lyrics suffer (though he co-wrote that one with his on-and-off girlfriend Katy Perry, so I'm not going to put all the blame on him). That wasn't much of a problem on "Continuum," arguably his best work to date. But for me, "Paradise Valley" ranks pretty high up there, too.

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