John Mayer Comes Back Strong on ‘The Search for Everything’
39-year old Pop/rock darling John Mayer comes back strong on his first new album after a four-year hiatus, ‘The Search for Everything.’
Unbelievably, pop/rock, singer/songwriter John Mayer is approaching his 40th year of life. It seems just yesterday that Mayer turned heads proclaiming her “Body is a Wonderland.” As middle age nears for the guitar virtuoso with the smooth, soulful pipes, He releases his first new album in four years, The Search for Everything. Eight songs arrived prior to the album, issued over the course of two EPs. The Search for Everything in its entirety is comprised of 12 brilliant, consistent songs.
“Still Feel Like Your Man”
Opener “Still Feel Like Your Man” initiates The Search for Everything soulfully. Mayer is incredibly honest as he asserts he isn’t over his ex. On verse one, he rejects the opportunities to move on:
“The prettiest girl in the room she wants me / I know because she told me / She comes over / I’d like to get to know you / But I just don’t think I can.”
On the second verse, he doesn’t reject offers, but rather remembers the scent of her shampoo, refusing to throw it away.
“I still keep your shampoo in my shower / In case you wanna wash your hair.”
The chorus confirms Mayer’s emotional position, in plain and repetitive, but effective language. It’s highly relatable, making “Still Feel Like Your Man” the crème de la crème of The Search for Everything.
“Emoji of a Wave” catches the eye, thanks to featuring the word emoji if nothing else. The song itself has that cool, beautiful singer/songwriter vibe Mayer has become known for. Once more, the matters of his heart drive the concept. The lyrics are both poetic and potent:
“Your heart is where my head should be / The dissonance is killing me / It breaks my heart / It breaks my heart.”
“Helpless” contrasts the softness and tender emotions of “Emoji of a Wave.” The guitar provides fuel for the fire, with a driving groove propelling the record forward. Mayer maintains a sense of coolness and poise, but there’s clearly more bite. He doesn’t need vocal histrionics, just top-notch production work, awesome guitar skills, and a respectable, well-rounded vocal performance. Like “Still Feel Like Your Man,” there’s an incredible sense of soulfulness.
“Love on the Weekend”
“Love on the Weekend” served as the promo single from The Search for Everything. Somewhat restrained, characterized by its subtlety, its magic unveils itself more with successive listens. The record sports a quintessential soft-rock sound, led by guitar. Mayer delivers clear, calm, and collected vocals, that ultimately, finds him flexing his signature sound. All in all, the subtlety pays off, giving him a respectable comeback song.
Mayer remains consistent on “In the Blood,” showcasing clear vocals, never obstructed by the production work. With rhythmic acoustic guitar leading the charge for the accompaniment, “In the Blood” sports a folk-rock sensibility. From the start, “In the Blood” is promising, with the valedictory arriving on a catchy, well-written refrain:
“I can feel the love I want, I can feel the love I need / But it’s never gonna calm the way I am / Could I change if I wanted, can I rise above the flood? / Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?”
“Changing” switches from blue-eyed soul to the adult-alternative pop style he’s excelled at. Despite the stylistic shift, the soulfulness doesn’t exit – the electric guitar sounds as mean and punchy as ever. A wonderful feature is the use of rhythmic acoustic guitars, which add a folky element. Furthermore, the particular timbre of the drums further amplifies. How is Mayer “Changing?” He continues to grow musically and personally, in essence. “Changing is followed by instrumental interlude, “Theme from ‘The Search for Everything’.”
“Moving On and Getting Over”
“Moving On and Getting Over” proves to be incredibly soulful, bearing a sound characterized by tidiness and clarity. Vocally, he matches the thoughtfulness of the production work, never pushing, but also, never under-singing. The blue-eyed, pop-soul number left a strong first impression on Wave One, and that impression remains impressive on the full-length album. “Moving On and Getting Over” differentiates itself from his past work, while not sounding totally unfamiliar.
On ballad “Never on the Day You Leave,” Mayer laments the end of a relationship, citing missed memories, kisses, and etc. The better record is follow-up, “Rosie.” The blue-eyed soul of “Rosie” impresses from a first listen. As laid back as the record is, it packs a punch. Constructing the soulful ambience are background vocals, horns, organ, and of course Mayer’s guitar chops. Like “Never on the Day You Leave,” Mayer laments the end of the relationship between himself and Rosie.
“Don’t leave me here / Under the January rain / Come let me in / Take my heart by the hand / And lead me back to your room / and sing me your tune.”
“Roll it on Home”
Originally, “Roll it on Home” concluded the second wave of The Search for Everything. Here, it serves as the full-length album’s penultimate record. Ultimately, “Roll it on Home” embraces a folk-pop/rock sound. Like much of the LP, love and companionship aren’t on the protagonist’s side. Mayer puts it simply:
“Roll it on home / Roll it on home / Tomorrow’s another chance you won’t go it alone / If you roll it on home.”
On closer “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me,” Mayer sounds exceptional vocally. While he has vocal limitations in regards to range, he uses that limited range flawlessly. The songwriting matches the sheer beauty of his instrument. “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” is the type of record from Mayer that gives goosebumps – chills.
Ultimately, The Search for Everything is a magnificent John Mayer album without question. While Mayer has never released a dud, The Search for Everything is by far his best album in years. Everything has been sound at its worst since crowning achievement Continuum, but The Search for Everything rivals the brilliance of that tour de force.
Gems: “Still Feel Like Your Man,” “Helpless,” “Love on the Weekend,” “Moving On and Getting Over,” “Rosie” & “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me”