Archive for John Mayer

Review: New Stuff … Just In Time for Holiday Shopping!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by 30daysout

Guess this is the sort of stuff you will find under the tree this Christmas – if you have been bad.  I’d rather have a gift card, you know?  Anyway – here are some new efforts from Big Superstars who are still trying to get your hard-earned money this holiday season, although you need it way more than they do.

Norah Jones has sold a zillion albums but she has really put out only four, and The Fall is certainly her liveliest album to date.  She’s kinda wanting to put that “chick with the smoky voice sitting at the piano plunking out ballads” thing behind her but on The Fall she only halfway manages that.  This stuff doesn’t rock, not by a long shot, but “Stuck” starts out with a guitar plucked from Neil Young (or John Lennon) and finds Norah kinda cranky about breaking up with her boyfriend (she really did, with songwriting collaborator and bass player Lee Alexander – make that former collaborator and bass player).  “You Ruined Me” has a nice little country skip, and “Man Of The Hour” closes everything out with Norah’s best vocal yet.  Nice, especially if you’re a fan, but nothing really revolutionary.

MP3: “Stuck” by Norah Jones

When I saw the cover of John Mayer‘s Battle Studies I thought for moment he was a young Morrissey.   And that’s who he kinda sounds like here: the fadeup into the first song “Heartbreak Warfare” lets you know you’re in for tough sledding through 11 slabs of Mayer-iffic mood mud.   It’s all pretty much like the John Mayer boilerplate stuff we’ve heard before, with maybe a few more Dave Matthews rips tossed in.  Mayer even tries a cover of “Crossroads” (using the Cream model) but that’s pretty namby-pamby too – if this guy would just cut loose on guitar he might be pretty great.  The obligatory big single, “Half Of My Heart,” a duet with flavor-of-the-month Taylor Swift, is OK but instantly forgettable and “War Of My Life” sounds like it was recorded right after John listened to a U2 album.

MP3: “Half Of My Heart” by John Mayer w/Taylor Swift

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