John Mayer brings new country style to ‘Born and Raised’

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By Julia Waldow, Print Arts & Style Editor

John Mayer has a knack for effortlessly switching back and forth from different genres and still staying true to himself. His newest album, “Born and Raised,” which was released May 22, is more in the country style than his previous albums are.

According to “Rolling Stone,” Mayer wrote his new album at his Montana ranch in an attempt to stay out of the limelight and recover from his girlfriend-bashing, inappropriate-interview days. With heartfelt lyrics and soulful songs, “Born and Raised” shows a more emotional side of Mayer. While it is not as great as Mayer’s smashing pop and jazz releases “Room For Squares” and “Continuum,” “Born and Raised” still manages to please listeners. Highlights breaks down the best tracks bit by bit for Mayer fans and newcomers alike.

Queen of California— 5/5 stars
The first track off of “Born and Raised,” “Queen of California,” commences with a soulful acoustic guitar that trails into a catchy beat. A great start to the album, the song blends country and rock into a smooth mix with awesome backup harmonies, cool guitar solos and a touch of a piano. Mayer’s short chorus, “I just found out a ghost left town / The queen of California is stepping down,” will get stuck in listeners’ heads.

Shadow Days — 5/5 stars
“Shadow Days,” a smashing hit off of the new album, is rumored to be about Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer’s ex, whom he negatively blabbed about in the tabloids. The song starts off with some nice banjo strumming and segways into a powerful, deep chorus: “I’m a good man, with a good heart / Had a tough time, got a rough start / But I finally learned to let it go / Now I’m right here and I’m right now / And I’m open, knowing somehow / That my shadow days are over / That my shadow days are over now.” The raw emotion in Mayer’s voice is apparent from the song’s start, thereby creating a memorable listening experience.

Speak For Me — 4/5 stars
In “Speak For Me,” Mayer sings about how he needs aid in tough times. With falsettos peppered throughout the song, “Speak For Me” features a nice acoustic guitar and honest, heartfelt lyrics such as “Show me something I can be / Play a song that I can sing / Make me feel as I am free / Someone come speak for me.”

Something Like Olivia — 3/5 stars
In this song, Mayer sings about how he desires a girlfriend like a woman named Olivia. The song is a bit repetitive, and fresher lyrics would have made for a better song. It is, however, an easy listen for relaxing in the shade or for dreaming about a lost love.

Born and Raised — 5/5 stars
With calming lyrics and awesome guitar riffs, this title track is as good as it gets. In it, Mayer sings about going back to his roots and finding out how to be true to himself. Lyrics such as “And all at once, it gets hard to take / It gets hard to fake what I won’t be / ‘Cause one of these days I’ll be born and raised / And it’s such a waste to grow up lonely” are raw and true.

Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 — 3/5 stars
A trumpet starts the song off with a smash. It quickly switches gears into a melody that sounds suspiciously like “Lovebug” by the Jonas Brothers (maybe they’ll sue?). This song tells the story of a man who commits suicide and takes a “homemade, fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.” It is a gruesome, yet emotional, ride.

A Face to Call Home — 3.5/5 stars
The song’s chorus is original and soothing. Mayer implies that his newest love is permanent in lyrics such as “You know my paper heart / The one I fill with pencil marks / I might have gone and inked you in.”

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