John Mayer
Paradise Valley


3.0
good

Review

by thecolorbrown USER (17 Reviews)
August 20th, 2013 | 56 replies | 4,310 views


Release Date: 08/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Paradise Valley, while having its strong points, is altogether very average as an album, and in response to its final lyrics, “A little bit of heaven never hurt no one,” he was right, and I’m a little hurt.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

To start, being a John Mayer fan, and Having seen Mayer this summer on his Born & Raised tour, I was reminded of the incredible talent that the man has to offer when he’s got his 6-string in his hands. Though his voice is still slowly recovering from throat Granuloma, he gave his very best on the B&R tour, showing off some pretty spectacular renovations he made to some of the live editions of his songs made the anticipation for his new music pretty grand. And the songs that were released early – Grateful Dead-reminiscent Taylor Swift basher “Paper Doll” and the upbeat Western summer anthem “Wildfire” which opens the album – didn’t disappoint whatsoever at showing Mayer branching out in terms of genre, while still holding true to what he does best. The two songs demonstrate his guitar work as well as his clever and thoughtful lyricism, and reign as two of the stronger songs on the album.

Still, when I finally got around to listening all the way through Paradise Valley, I was baffled. The fan in me so badly wants to give this album a 5 and encourage everyone to buy it and support the artist that influences me so much, but on the other hand … this is not John Mayer at his best. To be clear: my disappointment has nothing to do with his newfound love for Country and Western music. I adored Born & Raised, and I think his country-rich songs on PV are some of the album’s strongest. The dynamic acoustic number, “Dear Marie” shines as Mayer reaches out to a high school sweetheart; the song slowly builds into an ending similar to something you'd expect from folk kings Mumford & Sons. Album closer, “On the Way Home” is a strong folksy tune with catchy acoustic guitar leads and Mayer’s indelible falsetto, all the while boasting some of the stronger lyrics on the album. My personal favorite, “You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down,” could have easily been found on a Willie Nelson greatest hits album; the vocal melodies are skillfully crafted to get stuck in your head, along with the simplistic and memorable songwriting of 20th Century country music in the likes of Nelson, or even Patsy Cline.

But what makes Paradise Valley ultimately a disappointment is its inconsistency. Almost every song is a different genre, with a different theme. It doesn’t move along as smooth as his older albums did - nor is it a collection of “hits”. As a matter of fact, it could even be seen as an antithesis to a greatest hits record – almost as if Mayer had trashed the actual album and instead put out all the B-sides as the back-up plan. While after its first listen, “Who You Love” sounds enchanting with the surprising soulful guest vocals from Katy Perry, it becomes too repetitive and falls short of the potential it had. JJ Cale cover “Call Me The Breeze” has an awkward and abrupt ending that fails to let the song make the guitar soloing noteworthy or the Tribute to the recently-deceased guitar legend honorable. Additionally, Frank Ocean hogs an entire track on 100% R&B interlude “Wildfire”, which results in perhaps the strangest and most uncomfortable moment of the album.

Both with a strong start, and a strong finish, the bulk of Paradise Valley unfortunately makes for an inconsistent and, at times, uncomfortable listen. Then again, there are a number of strong tracks that will easily be implemented into Mayer’s live catalogue. But the album as a whole cannot possibly be considered equal to Room for Squares or Born & Raised, and it is on a completely different universe than Continuum – which will probably always be Mayer’s Magnum Opus. Paradise Valley, while having its strong points, is altogether very average as an album, and in response to its final lyrics, “A little bit of heaven never hurt no one,” he was right, and I’m a little hurt.

Top Tracks:
Wildfire
Paper Doll
Dear Marie
You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down
On The Way Home



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Alex Kugaczewski (2)
Contractually obligated....

Tom Gellatly (4)
A lovely, laid-back mood piece which doesn't aspire to be anything more than the quiet gem that it i...

Scott M. Baldwin (3.5)
Despite some obvious flaws, a well-done record that showcases Mayer's old-school country influences....


Comments:Add a Comment 
YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2013



1639 Comments


Never been a fan of John Mayer so I probably wouldn't dig this. Nice review though.

Digging: My Brightest Diamond - None More Than You

Cipieron
August 20th 2013



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review man, pos'd



I'm in the same boat. As a JMayer fan, I really want to like this.. but I just find this album very middle of the road.

A few decent songs, but overall nowhere close to the feel that Born and Raised had.



I like his venture into country, but I do wish he'd just go back to blues. Maybe even try his hand at hard rock

thecolorbrown
August 20th 2013



72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I've been saying the same thing with hard rock. The solos and jam-sections that he adds to his live show could really open doors for new fans if they were put on record. At the same time, I know that a record like this is exactly what JM needed to put out for himself. So I respect it 100% even though it frustrates me so much...

wy2sl0
August 20th 2013



18 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Couldn't agree more with the above. Not many people make the pentatonic scales sound so good, even though they are so simple. The guy is just a genius at writing songs centered around the guitar. In saying that, I think the last two albums are spent showcasing less of that. I don't see that as an issue as long as it is still pushing boundaries, but I don't feel Paradise Valley is pursuing his limits.

larrytheslug
August 20th 2013



1315 Comments


isnt he dating katy perry now? amazing!

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2013



1639 Comments


lol what's amazing about that?

bloc
August 20th 2013



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is so damn boring

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

larrytheslug
August 20th 2013



1315 Comments


you need to watch more tmz, dark

wacknizzle
August 20th 2013



12639 Comments


i hate this fucking hob knob

Digging: Systems - Ghost Medicine

Cipieron
August 20th 2013



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

he hates you too

wacknizzle
August 20th 2013



12639 Comments


I just hate his corny music and bro'd out legion of fans, we could probably have a few drinks without getting into a fist fight, anything more than 5 probably not

Underflow
August 20th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

This record is agonizingly lazy. I can't remember John ever sounding so trite.

RivalSkoomaDealer
August 20th 2013



674 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree that the album is rather disjointed but the quality of the songs are so much better than on Born and Raised imo.

Good review man, i'll pos.

Digging: Perturbator - Dangerous Days

Cipieron
August 20th 2013



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i wouldn't go that bar br1nk. Born and Raised was pretty tight

RivalSkoomaDealer
August 20th 2013



674 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It was dece.

Underflow
August 20th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Much better than this. The songwriting was sharper, and John actually sounds emotionally invested on that album. This sounds more "contractually obligated."

Cipieron
August 20th 2013



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hah, that may have been true.

kinda like with Protest the Hero and Scurrilous

tommygun
August 20th 2013



23629 Comments


nice review, pos

pretty much agree with everything you said

only spun this three or four times so it might grow a little more but yea idk

kinda feels lazy

had high hopes after loving born n raised

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

henryChinaski
August 21st 2013



2687 Comments


Hm gotta check this. Paper Doll is good, but that song feat. Katy Perry is awful.

BigBlob
August 21st 2013



1618 Comments


this guy is awful



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