Thursday, January 29, 2009

Album of the Day #136: HEAVIER THINGS - John Mayer

Title: Heavier Things
Artist: John Mayer
Label: Aware/Columbia
Year: 2003
Songs: Clarity/Bigger Than My Body/Something’s Missing/New Deep/Come Back To Bed/Home Life*/Split Screen Sadness/Daughters/Only Heart/Wheel
Written by: John Mayer, except *David LaBruyere & John Mayer
Produced by: Jack Joseph Puig
Thoughts: This is a guitar album. That’s what gets me with this LP. It’s like the criticism he got for being “soft” got to Mayer and woke him up. He suddenly realized how great a lead guitarist he is. Right from the exquisite “Clarity” onward, it gets pretty obvious that, even though he’s only on his second full album, Mayer has successfully reinvented himself. “Bigger Than My Body”, the only successful single, is a great track, perfectly showcasing his rock prowess. “Something’s Missing” is great and easily my favorite track. “New Deep” is good (although the chorus is a little weak) and, I’m scared to say this, but “Come Back To Bed” is a great blues track. Although its’ subject is far too similar to “Your Body Is A Wonderland”, the fact that Mayer breaks the track free of its’ mundane subject is remarkable. His guitar solo is just wonderful. “Home Life” is driven by this quirky keyboard line, has a cool chorus. “Split Screen Sadness” is nice, with a nifty opening and the backing chant, “Two wrongs make it right all right tonight,” just makes the track that much cooler. “Daughters”, the only other single (pushed out by Columbia, because Mayer refused), sticks out like a sore thumb. Sure, it might be a good song, but it doesn’t fit with the overall sound of the album. So, it makes me wonder: If Mayer didn’t like the song, why did he release it? He certainly was right that it shouldn’t be a single because it clashes with his new image of being a rock/blues guitarist. “Only Heart” shows Mayer providing a killer solo and “Wheel” is a nice, slow number that takes us to the close of the album.
This is a really good album and provides the foundation for what comes on his next one.

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