Falling in love with John Mayer, again
MANILA, Philippines — John Mayer dropped last Friday his much-awaited eighth studio album, Sob Rock, four years after 2017’s The Search for Everything.
I had goosebumps listening to its lead single Last Train Home, which was the first track played during the advanced listening session of Sob Rock, made possible by Sony Music Philippines. I guess that’s the result of not hearing from him for some time.
The song was written and produced by the American singer-songwriter himself, with featured vocals by country singer Maren Morris, and produced by Don Was.
Toto’s Lenny Castro did the percussions for the song, while on keyboards was Greg Phillinganes, who has toured with famous artists such as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson and Toto — hence, the apparent ‘80s sound influence.
“A group of hyper-talented and wonderful people gathered amid some scary, sad and strange times to create some music we could all hide inside of. I’ll never be able to thank them enough,” John commended the team behind the amazing track in an Instagram post.
Last Train Home offers a homey feeling that reminds one of Toto’s Africa and makes you want to go on a road trip on a weekend with this as a background music or foreground, either way.
Moreover, the entire album highlights John’s authentic style, marked by his impressive guitar riffs and heartfelt lyrics. He displayed his amazing guitar acts, notably in New Light and I Guess I Just Feel Like, the third and seventh tracks, respectively. The upbeat song New Light has that Santana-ish solo vibe and is about “pushing 40 in the friend zone.”
There’s also the relaxing, loungy beat Why You No Love Me (someone from the invited press commented during the listening session that this one sounds like the band America), the classic feel Wild Blue and Til the Right One Comes to all the singles out there. And yes, it “won’t be long til the right one comes,” he sings.
Other tracks that bring out that nostalgic atmosphere and make you fall in love with his music all over again are Shouldn’t Matter But It Does, Shot in the Dark, Carry Me Away and the last track All I Want Is To Be With You.
“The only record I’ve made that I listen to recreationally,” said the 43-year-old Grammy artist in a post.
Indeed, the 40-minute album, overall, makes you want to get your car key, hit the road, roll down the windows and feel the ‘80s vibe.
Released under Columbia Records, Sob Rock has a tagline that reads, “Life is hard. Rock soft,” which basically describes the soft rock theme of the album in a nutshell.
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s YouTube channel, he explained that he wants to “make a record that’s in some way provocative, if not antagonizing.”
“And then I did what I thought was going to be antagonizing, and this is the most important part of the conversation, I think, creatively,” John said.
“For me, it was like, ‘I want to get in trouble. I want someone to tell me this is shit,’” he further said, calling his album a shitpost. The term means an “activity of posting deliberately provocative or off-topic comments on social media, typically in order to upset others or distract from the main conversation,” according to Oxford Dictionary.
“And I made a record that to me, at the time, only in a way to coax something out of me that I wouldn’t have normally done: shitpost a record. It’s called Sob Rock because it’s a shitpost.
“But more importantly, it’s what I thought was a shitpost, and this gets down to where artists sit in front of you and play you what they think is their garbage, and you go, ‘That’s the best thing I ever heard you play.’ It makes a mockery of their interpretation of the experience, which is just enough to break out of the mold and make something unique,” added John.
John has won several Grammy awards, including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his single Your Body Is a Wonderland in 2003, Song of the Year for Daughters and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2005, Best Pop Vocal Album for Continuum and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Waiting on the World to Change in 2007, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Say in 2008 and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for Gravity in 2009.
Meanwhile, a member of the South Korean girl group BLACKPINK received a PRS Silver Sky guitar from the talented musician.
The lucky girl Rosé shared on Friday in her Instagram story a photo of the pink guitar, captioned, “Life is complete,” tagging John with a “thank you” message.
Last month, John praised BLACKPINK’s main vocalist for her performance of the former’s Slow Dancing In A Burning Room during a guest appearance on the JTBC variety show A Sea Of Hope, calling it “gorgeous.”
And so, it’s time to browse the playlist, press play and relive memories of Back To You, No Such Thing and Your Body Is a Wonderland (in that order). Heart emoji.