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Heavier Things

John Mayer

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Album Review

Don't take the title of John Mayer's Heavier Things literally. Mayer offers nothing heavy on the follow-up to his breakthrough hit, Room for Squares — nothing heavy in the music and nothing heavy in the lyrics. No, Mayer is smooth, slick, and streamlined on his second or third album (it all depends if you count his 1999 debut, Inside Wants Out, half of which was re-recorded for Room for Squares, which itself was released in two different incarnations), playing things straight and following the blueprint his big radio hit, "Your Body Is a Wonderland," provided. The title Heavier Things does reflect his new directness, lacking the lithe playfulness that resulted in a Hank Mobley joke, of all things, for an album title last time out. That extends to the rest of the album — the humor and interesting wordplay have been toned down, leaving very little ambiguity. Actually, there's little left unexplained on the record, with every song on the album spread across several grids explaining where they were written and how many beats per minute they are, breaking them down into keywords, charting what "suggested target points" on the body the song should hit (tellingly, not one track is targeted at the crotch), and even grouping the songs together by key. The latter is a bit of a mistake, since it shows that for all those jazzy major and minor seventh chords gliding by in his songs, he's keeping his songwriting pretty simple, sticking to D, E, F, G, and A, with a G minor thrown in for good measure. This, of course, is not really a problem for listeners, since most listeners don't care how a song is written as long as it sounds good, but this does confirm that he's kept things simple, concentrating on how the record sounds and feels. And, as a piece of mood music, this is really quite effective, delivering on how "Your Body Is a Wonderland" sounds, with some really nice lush, laid-back textures and songs that are melodic without being truly catchy. It's music that floats through the speakers nicely and never leaves much of a lasting impression; it's how a jazzier, laid-back, less adventurous, and MOR-oriented Dave Matthews would sound. Mayer is now more of a record-maker than songwriter, which will undoubtedly dishearten those who liked the song-oriented Inside Wants Out, but those who just enjoyed the sound and feel of Room for Squares should feel right at home.

Customer Reviews

Buy it now!

If you don't already own this album, shame on you. One day John Mayer will make it big in the UK, without the help of Jo Whiley too, and then you'll have to play catch up by buying his older releases. Start now. Heavier Things is a deeper approach by Mayer while still retaining his pop/rock sound and poetic lyrics from 'Room for Squares'. Mayer's voice, soulful with an edge of country, and his often underestimated guitar playing are what make every release that touch above the rest. Highlights on this album include Split Screen Sadness, a slow grower but once fully understood you will come back to again and again, the Grammy Award Winning Daughters, Only Heart for a bit of Rockabilly and Home Life, lyrical genius. Check out his latest album 'Continuum' to see how Mayer has evolved to include Jazz and Blues into his music creating the ultimate sultry sound.

Album two proves not to be a problem

The tong- in-cheek title of Mayer’s second album suggests that the light and breezy sounds from his previous album have disappeared, not the case. The album does move on thematically and musically, discussing the dizzy heights of fame on ‘Bigger Than My Body’ to the yearnings of a ‘normal’ life in ‘Home Life’. Mayer’s lyrics connect with his listeners, and he does so better than most artists. ‘Heavier Things’ shows a growth and ever increasing confidence, for a second album he sticks to a limited amount of songs giving the album a short but perfectly formed feel. However, this far removed from the rich and expansive sounds it radiates. Sit back and soak it in.

OMG!!!

this man is amazing! ive never had an album which could immediatly make me happy when i hear i! Clarity my favourite song! JOHN MAYER YOU ARE AMAZING!

Biography

Born: 16 October 1977 in Bridgeport, CT

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After making his introduction as a sensitive, acoustic-styled songwriter on 2001's Room for Squares, John Mayer steadily widened his approach over the subsequent years, encompassing everything from blues-rock to adult contemporary in the process. Arriving during the tail end of teen pop's heyday, he crafted pop music for a more discerning audience, spiking his songcraft with jazz chords and literate turns of phrase. The combination proved to be quite popular, as Room for Squares went triple platinum...
Full bio