Congratulations John Mayer, you have officially made it to the Taylor Swift level. Not in sales and popularity, but in content. Much like Swift, Mayer has just made his version of a break-up album with his seventh studio album, The Search For Everything. Mayer, who is known for his clever singing and songwriting from the past, gives a half-hearted performance for the most part on his most recent project.
It’s important to note that he released part of the album back in February, and the rest of it this past Friday to combine for a full length LP. The product we get is a mixture of rock and blues ballads with a country track dropped in there as well. Themes discussed on this project include Mayer’s longing for being with ex-girlfriend Katy Perry, alcohol and having a good time, and his family ties.
The first song, “Still Feel Like Your Man” is an obvious ode to Perry, and he even admits that he hasn’t dated in five years and would still love to. Bottom line, he needs a girl. And get cozy, because this is a recurring theme. I’m not a huge fan of this song, because I think the lyrics are quite shallow and the hook is too annoying to feel catchy. “Emoji of a Wave” is just a slower version of the first track, where he uses a wave as a metaphor for a relationship. It’s a step better than the previous song, but it still kind of bores me with more repetitive lyrics and quiet guitar playing.
The song “Helpless” is enjoyable until he sings, “a broken heart is all I’ll ever need.” Obviously, based on his previous songs, he is definitely longing for some type of relationship. He’s trying to act tough, but it’s not working. I do like the incorporation of not only his guitar, but drums as well. It’s a track that anyone can jam to.
While “Love on the Weekend” doesn’t have the most in-depth or thoughtful lyrics, it’s still enjoyable, and I kind of like the folky vibe to it, with a piano mixing in with a guitar. Again, he doesn’t have much to say on this song other than loving on a weekend. Even at his best on this project, it still feels like Mayer is not putting his best foot forward. His arguably most thoughtful track on this album has to be “In the Blood.” Mayer actually discusses a subject he rarely talks about, his parents. He presents the question of how much of your parents should be inside of you as an individual. A standout lyric on this track is when Mayer sings, “how much of my mother has my mother left in me?” It’s relatable for so many millennials and it’s another song with a folky vibe; It’s the album’s the best single.
“Changing” is an emotional ballad that is very personal for Mayer. He talks about how he’s developed as a person and as a musician. He sings about time telling him to follow his heart and continue to innovate. Fitting, considering the album switches from a rock-based first part to a more bluesy second half. As good as the three middle tracks on the album are, Mayer confusingly keeps goes back to the subject of Katy Perry. On “Moving On and Getting Over,” Mayer wants to forget about Perry but can’t. He says he’s getting over her in the hook but he obviously isn’t if he keeps bringing her up. Mayer said the saddest song he’s ever written was the next one on here, “Never on the Day You Leave.” Personally, I think his problems on this song are shallow and minimal. Mayer sings about Katy cutting off her hair and leaving him. To be honest, it confuses me, because is he angry that Katy changed her hairstyle, or is he angry because she left him? I guess one will never know.
Mayer continues to sing the blues on “Rosie.” While he interestingly incorporates a more jazzy style, I feel like Rosie in this song is actually Perry. With the lyric, “don’t leave me here in the January rain,” he is definitely talking about heartbreak. Maybe he knew people were getting sick of him talking about Perry so he changed her name thinking no one would know. “Roll it Home” is a country song, and I don’t like country. Even if I did like country though, this song doesn’t belong on this project. I would like the final track on this album if it wasn’t about Katy again. It’s a little creepy because Mayer says that she’ll be living in him forever. Come on John, Katy’s moved on, you should too.
All in all, it’s alright to talk about break-ups, but not to this degree. It’s not even done in an interesting manner either. Mayer definitely plays it safe on this LP, which makes a lot of tracks forgettable. Some of the folky songs are good, as they seemed to be his most thoughtful tracks, but the rest of the album felt very lazy and half-hearted. Mayer is past his prime for sure.