Two years after his mainly acoustic release “Inside Wants Out”, John Mayer returned with a more complete album, called “Room for Squares”. The album became huge thanks to the massive radio hit “Your Body Is A Wonderland”. This song was how I learned of the talented Mr. Mayer. I expected something really cheesy and boring, but when I listened to the song, the chorus got stuck in my head, and the bridge riff amazed me. It totally represented Mayer, a really talented musician, but so is totally intimate. Intimate enough to not to put a song in the 13th track because he’s superstitious. The album itself, was far better, in my opinion, and has songs that have potential to be classics of 00’s pop/rock. John’s guitar work is really original, with jazzy chords, catchy riffs and slaps just around everywhere. His lyrics are not something so original or shocking. But when you’re listening to the cd, you can’t disagree with the things he talks about. And that was why; probably Mayer became so famous, and probably still gets the attention similar to boy bands got in the 90’s.
1) No Such Thing:
The album starts with one of Mayer’s signature clever acoustic riffing. The vocals and the band enters altogether, and the first words that comes out of Mayer’s mouth is: “Welcome to the real world.” It just… opens your eyes. Such a great intro. The song is upbeat, but tends to chill you out. The chorus contains the first lyrics I agree with Mayer “I wanna run to the halls of my high school, I wanna scream with the top of my lungs.” Then comes the bridge part… which I just love. “I’m invincible as long as I’m alive!!” Mayer cries out. The song ends with a bittersweet feeling. From now on, you’re totally with Mayer to the end of the cd.
2) Why Georgia:
Another acoustic intro, with another great, and simple riff. This is a sing along track. I always imagine people singing, “I am driving 85 in a kind of morning that lasts all afternoon”. The song really takes you on a ride. The chorus has the classic Mayer questioning. “’Cause I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still, verdictless life.” His falsetto there gets me every time, its put so cleverly. The song keeps progressing continuously. For a moment, Mayer is left alone with his acoustic guitar, and then, my favourite part comes. Where, the band enters with a crash, and a couple of Mayers shout: “Don’t believe me!!” Then, the song falls down, back to the starting riff. You just feel like the ride has taken you back. The song ends while Mayer starts questioning himself again. A great great track. One of my favourites.
3) My Stupid Mouth:
John loves guitar intros. It’s easy to see why, he yet again has a very rhythmic, fun guitar part here. The song is about a break- up which is because John said some things that... he wasn’t supposed to say. The lyrics seem like they have been pulled out of a phone conversation with a friend or something. It is not poetic or anything. It is intimate, daily language. The song might seem a bit dull at the start. It’s John’s vocals that carry the song, just like it did on the 2nd track. The chorus has John going in and out of falsetto: “I’m never speaking up again.” The song seems to end at some point... but a moment later.. John enters again, like he remembered something: ”One more thing!” I find this part pretty funny, it’s one of the reasons I like this song.
4) Your Body Is A Wonderland:
The ultimate radio classic. Starts off with a nice mellow riff over John’s fingerpicked chord progression. It’s simple, and might seem bland. Well, it’s not the pure melancholy that you need to get when listening to a John Mayer song. It’s the groove, or the beat. His music is pop oriented after all. Lyrics are about... umm... some kind of private moment" Girly parts" Way to get laid" Something along the lines of that. The song has a great breakdown. I love it; and the guitar lick over there... it’s “wonder”ful- especially tonewise.
Now, this is awesome
. One of the greatest and hardest riffs I’ve ever seen. And it’s not just hard- it’s pefectly written, and catchy. You cannot prevent your head from banging along with it. Yeah, I literally headbang to this song. It has a nice, sweeping groove all along. It is one of those simple, emotional moments for me. In the album version, the guitars are vague, which I truly love. It adds so much more atmosphere to the song. It’s a truly sing-along song (“She comes, and she goes like no one can. She’s always buzzing just like neon...neon.”). And has a breakdown just as great as “Your Body Is a Wonderland” does. With all these elements, this song is nothing less than a John Mayer classic. My favourite.
6) City Love:
This starts off straightforward with vocals. You feel like you’ve missed something. Because the very first lines of the song is pretty random :"I never liked this apple much.” The song surely is about love. But John seems to be uncertain of who he is in love with... New York or a girl. “I’ve got a city love” he says, which go both ways. It’s a romantic ballad sort of thing. Verse parts are stressed and groovy. The song gets loose in the chorus, which fits perfectly. There is also a nice string session in the song. My favourite part of the song is where it leads straightforward into “Covered In Rain”. It’s another song that John has wrote, and the words “covered in rain” is present at City Love too. It’s also basically the same chords. Then everything gets calmer and John pulls out a great solo. The verse goes in again- but a lot calmer. And then everything slowly “falls asleep to the sounds of sirens.” And with a bam! The chorus goes in again with strings really audible. This is like the climax of the song. A complicated arrangement, and a strong track.
I guess I’m too biased with John Mayer’s riffage. They get me everytime... like this one. It’s a bright, fun song where John imagines about being 6 years old again. We see references here about his family and child dreams and all. John has the ability to make such small things worth writing a song, which I find really intimate. This is the prime example of that. The pre- chorus and chorus has a nice use of percussion with creates a complex, danceable rhythm. Another memorable part of the song is the ending. It feels like something you can easily jam along to...and it has even more of a dance vibe, and the guitar- flute collaboration is melodic and catchy.
One of my personal favourite. The song rushes with an inevitable speed. While the speed remains constant, you feel every chord change touches you, and there are a lot of’em. Umm.. there is actually not very much to say about it except... beware for the lyrics. IMO, this track is John’s best lyrical work. “It brought me back to life” he says, well, it does bring me back to life. Open your eyes for this one. It’s not a 5/5, because it can get repetitive, and I know I’m biased about this one.
9) Love Song For No One:
This sounds like a classic American pop/ rock song. It’s really catchy and all... but the lyrics, the melody etc. is not that great- I have to admit. It’s a weak spot for the album, but it’s great for a live show.
10) Back To You:
A couple of snare drums.. and a really simple riff... but it just gets you, it gets you right away. It reminds me of U2 somehow, maybe because of the “one melody over a chord change” formulae. Anyways, it’s a song about going back to your lover whom you’ve given up and all. John puts all his emotion into this one. It has lots of clichés and all... but ingoring that, the song is simply beautiful. John has a short solo in here, and then the chorus comes in, he changes the last lyrics to “Your will is not as strong as it used to be.”, and then the song fades out with another melody. You don’t realize it when you don’t pay attention to the song, but it’s actually a really clever way to finish this song.
11) Great Indoors:
The title is the best part of this track. The song has an ethnic feeling to it, the use of keyboards is really nice in here, sort of depresses me. Again, kudos to John for writing songs about such unimportant matters :) Other than that, it’s not something too special.
12) Not Myself:
This song always reminds me of “My Stupid Mouth”...it seems like a slowed- down version of “My Stupid Mouth”. However, when the overdubbed vocals enter singing: “Would you want me when I’m not myself"”; it’s just pure excellence. John seems to have trusted on the magic of the chorus, too. There is nothing too hype on this track, and you just wait for the chorus to come again and again. It does, so don’t worry.
13) Track 13:
It’s an empty track. It has no music in it. It’s just 4 seconds of silence, worth a listen if you are bored.
14) St. Patrick’s Day:
A great chill- out track in the end. It cries out that it’s relaxing from the very start. It’s just simple strumming, simple drumming... it’s all atmosphere. This, too, has some nice lyrics: “We’ll search the sky, like children do.” The song has a winter atmosphere.... and gives you the calmness of falling snow. If you pay attention, there is this clinging bell sound. You know, the one that immediately reminds you of Santa. The song is just “fit” for the ending, you turn the power off with a good, relaxed mood.
Overall Rating: 4/5
The cd has far more insteresting tracks than “Your Body Is A Wonderland”. It proves that John Mayer is really talented, and not a Dave Matthews poser at all (most people seem to think like this, I disagree.). It’s superior to its follower “Heavier Things”. It has much more stronger tracks, but is not flexible as that one.