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CD REVIEW: John Mayer - Battle Studies

Tuesday, November 24 2009 3:38PM
John Mayer is back after a 3 year hiatus. Following up after the release of his previous album, the excellent Continuum, he offers us a new album mostly influenced by break-up stories, mixing sentimental ballads with the occasional blues-rock guitar solos. 

The album mostly remains “safe”, falling into the adult-pop category, although thankfully saved by a few distinguished pieces. John Mayer doesn’t hesitate to use his charms, aiming mostly at a feminine audience, playing the seduction card and romanticizing his public with lusty pieces such as Edge of Desire and playing on break-up emotions like in the song Assassin.
One down point of the album is that certain songs seem to linger without ever really progressing such as All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye or War of My Life which drown in endless emotion filled ballads.
Although, a few exceptions are found in order to salvage the record, making Battle Studies worth the listen with enough material to over-looked the overtly sensitive soft-rock ballads.
The song Assassin is a perfect example of what can be done well on the album. It starts off with a very pretty introduction, accompanied by sexy kalimba sounds, leading us into a more rock melody à la Dave Matthews Band very well executed.
Often said to be the Eric Clapton of his time, John Mayer boldly reprises Crossroads, a piece that was interpreted many times by Eric Clapton and his band Cream, which however only allows us a glimpse at what this could be.
One highpoint found on the album is the duo recorded with country music star Taylor Swift. With the song Half of My Heart, the two artists deliver an enjoyable and light piece of music which enlightens the entire album’s content.
Also, with the piece Who Says, John Mayer incorporates folk music influences making it equally endearing.
Considering that more than half the songs on the album are worth a listen, fans of the genera will most likely find it worth the detour. Although, considering the immense talent John Mayer possesses, it is disappointing to acknowledge the album was put together so unequally, making it by times, a little boring.
Half of My Heart, Assassin, Who Says, Perfectly Lonely
Low points:
Friends, Lovers or Nothing, All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye, War of My Life, Heartbreak Warfare