John Mayer's Paradise Valley (an album review)

Posted by on Monday, September 2, 2013

I have a complicated relationship with John Mayer. I really liked Room for Squares when it came out because I was a twelve-year-old girl with an inclination toward anything that wasn't saccharine pop. After that album, I didn't really listen to him again. I heard rumors of douchebaggery and his music felt a little too Jack Johnson-y for me, and I am just not that into Jack Johnson (no offense, Jack Johnson. You seem like a really nice guy).

Anyway, my attitude toward John Mayer has changed in recent years. I watched him on SNL with Frank Ocean a few months ago, and he was great. My man knows how to play a guitar. I read an interview with him in Rolling Stone where the writer really gave him the benefit of the doubt. Rolling Stone knows how to make a fool out of pop stars they don't care for, so I figured I should give Mayer another chance if they did.

His new album, Paradise Valley, is really good. I don't have a lot to compare it to by way of his other songs since I haven't really listened to one of his albums in over a decade. However, I really like this one. Paradise Valley is a nickname for Montana, which is where he moved to get away from Hollywood and write this album. It feels really soulful, especially the first song "Wildfire." He was raised in Connecticut, but this song tricked me into thinking he was from New Orleans.

"Dear Marie" is a quiet singalong replete with chants, which is nice when you're just lounging around the house or taking a long drive. "Who You Love" features Katy Perry, and it's actually pretty good. I guess this is his way of marrying his two worlds, and I like it. Katy Perry's voice is nice on the song; she doesn't call unnecessary attention to it. It also features some horns and soft jazz crooning at the end but it feels more relaxing than cheesy.

Frank Ocean sings on the second "Wildfire" on the album, and I love it. I love Frank Ocean a lot, so I was happy to see his contribution. You need to close your eyes while you listen to this.

"You're no one 'til Someone lets you Down" might be one of my favorites on the album. It is pure old country.

All in all, this album is legit. I love it so much. I love it more than I thought I would.

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