98 of 106 people found the following review helpful
John Mayer is bound to stir up discussion, it seems, no matter what he does. Whether he sounds too close to Dave Matthews or whether (like here) he distances himself a bit from that sound. Whether he works on the guitar more (as in his debut) or whether he puts in more electronic elements distorting the original sound. In any case, controversy drags attention to him and it is one thing he deserves.
His sound in this album is strengthened by a solid band (among others, to be found is Matt Chamberlain who's played drums for the likes of Tori Amos and Brad Meldhau) and though the lyrics might not be the deepest he's written, the album as a whole has a more original and mature feel than his debut album, which did happen to sound like a Dave Matthews ripoff more than once. Due to its variety of tempos and rhythms included in this work and the somewhat "heavier" electronic component (interestingly enough a little song tempo chart by sequence is included in the booklet!) it remindes of Clapton's 'Pilgrim' at times, such as the case with "Come Back to Bed". It is no coincidence, therefore, that he shared the Holiday Blues Revue ay NYC this past December alongside blues legends Buddy Guy and Double Trouble (the formed band of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn).
All in all, a step in the right direction, an evolution from his first album and most definitely a young artist to keep a close eye on: if he doesn't steer away from his current path, he's bound to becoming a musical legend of our times.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2004
Heavier Things is my first John Mayer album. I bought this album because I loved the singles "Your Body Is A Wonderland," off his debut album, and the big recent hit off this release, "Bigger Than My Body."
Heavier Things seems to follow the melodic, sleek, catchy feel of these two hit singles. Mayer's breathy vocals are uniquely appealing but also deliver effectively in slower tempo tunes. More importantly, the depth of John Mayer's musical talent is evident on this album - he's a compelling songwriter with remarkably attuned pop sensibilities; he plays his own guitar; AND he can sing. Such a combination of talent gives Mayer the enduring appeal that will likely allow him to obtain and retain devoted fans for years to come. Yes, Mayer stormed the music scene with his debut album, but if he continues to write songs like these, he'll never be some Johnny-Come-Lately.
I find the hit "Bigger Than My Body" to be a spiraling, upward ascent that is impossible to resist. While that track is well-known from all its radio play, it is only the beginning of the great tunes on this album. "Clarity" is an enticing opening track, delivered poignantly mid-tempo with the wonderful backing of a trumpet. "Something's Missing" and "New Deep" are slower and introspective but sung in Mayer's typically earnest manner. "Come Back to Bed" bears a bluesy, jazzy feel, after which Mayer picks up the tempo and spirit with "Home Life," a smooth song laced with perfectly placed keyboards. "Split Screen Sadness" is another melancholy but magnetically delivered song. Next, "Daughters" is an acoustic, quaint tune with a straightforward, honest message revealing some of Mayer's obvious male sensitivities. "Only Heart" again picks up the pace and sounds like one of Mayer's big radio hits. The closing track, "Wheel," is one of my very favorites on the album, containing thoughtful lyrics and a beautiful pause of a chorus.
I also have to mention that Heavier Things gets my vote for the BEST LINER NOTES I've ever seen in an album! If you don't believe me, check them out - they're filled with charts and graphs including interesting tidbits of information about the songs on the album. Totally cool!
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2005
While I think this is a pretty good album in general, note that the DVD side of the disc is *not* DVD-Audio, but rather DVD-Video. In other words, the 5.1 mix is not the DVD-Audio 'advanced resolution' quality, but just as Dolby Digital compressed audio. While I'm sure some folks won't care about this, there are certainly audiophiles who will, and I would think those would pretty much be the only folks who would be interested in the DualDisc version of this album. Other DualDiscs have been released with DVD-Audio on the DVD side, and they don't do a good job of explaining what version is on the DVD side on the packaging.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
...but that's how it goes with sophomore releases. You compare it to the freshman release(which in John's case, blew my mind. I loved it. Especially 3x5), and you're bound to be severely disappointed. It's definitely different from Room for Squares....but all in all, I like it. It took maybe....3 runs of the entire cd, but I ended up jumping the fence. But. One song on Heavier Things that stood out from the first listen(albeit sentimental)was....DAUGHTERS. This is my favorite song on the entire album. As I listened to it, my mouth fell open like it did when I heard the alternate take of Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know". It pulls you in, and makes you listen.....Very surprising. I think John is developing well as a musician. But adolescent agnst-ridden teeny boppers won't like it (yay!).....except for maybe Bigger than My Body and Only Heart (the latter makes me nauseated, lyrically). Overall, this album displays John's ability, potential, and his inherent verve. I don't know if he reads his reviews, but in the event that he does: John, you've definitely earned some more cool points with me. Nice work.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2007
John Mayer blazed into the hearts of teenage girls, and even twenty-somethings, and, well... ok, everyone's hearts with his debut album, and it was a great album. It still is. I can put it in everyday and listen to it and never get tired of it. It is edgy, fun, pop-driven at times, hook-laden, and relaxing even. When I heard he was releasing his second studio album so soon after his studio debut made such a splash, I thought surely it would not be able to match the pure gratification of his "Room for Squares." It came out. I was at the store waiting for the doors to open so I could listen to the new tunes on my way to one of my senior music classes in college. "Drumbeat." Alright. "Piano motif." Nice. "Drumbeat." Cool. "Piano Mo-!" What?! Piano? John Mayer? Huh? What a softer edge he went with on the opening track of "Heavier Things," as opposed to his opening on "Room for Squares" which brought out an edgier John. With this opening track, he has set a tone for his highly anticipated Sophomore Album, and I was not sure how I felt about it. However, the more I listened to the album, the more I realized that the title referred to what he was dealing with after having a multi-platinum grammy award winning debut album was. Following that presents... well... some heavier things. That is not to say that this album does not present some heavy subject. "New Deep" my be one of the most playful songs on here. The sarcasm he writes into the lyrics is palpable: "Numb is the New Deep/Tired of the old me/over the analyzing..." What a line! And in today's world? It speaks to anyone who knows anyone. We all know these kind of people, and we are subject to this numbness at times as well. Tender moments always have their place in Mayer's music. "Come Back to Bed," "Homelife," and "Split-Screen Sadness" are among the best ballades written in the Pop Genre. In "Homelife" he sings possibly the most poignant lyric on any album out there today: "I can tell you this much/I will marry just once/And if it doesn't work out/Give her half of my stuff/It's fine with me/We said eternity." How nice to hear that from some one in the entertainment industry. You may call him naive, but I agree with him. He brings us on an emotional journey with "Daughters" that is a bit more pop-driven than I prefer from Mayer, but nonetheless, it is a good song and has an even better message. He leaves us with "Wheel," a song about giving out love to everyone, and how it will return one day to you. "I believe that my life's gonna see/The love I give/ Returned to me." He's outdone himself. This made me see that he would just keep getting better and better with time.
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2005
sorry folks, this title on dualdisc does not live up to the hype, the cd layer is 16 bit 44khz and the sound cant even match that of the sacd CD layer (hmmm??, no surprise there), and the dvd layer is 16 bit 48 khz and guess what? no difference in sound quality what-so-ever!!, i have by far am above average system consisting of arcam and b&w so i like to think i know what im talking about. do yourselves a favor and stay away from ALL DUALDISCS BY SONY!!!, enhanced stereo is just a nice way of them saying sacd failed and they will never support dvd audio!!! and a dolby 5.1 mix doesnt hold a candle to even a 24 bit 48 khz dvd audio 5.1 mix, let alone 24/96.
sorry sony, i am not buying into your dualdiscs!!!
p.s. i returned this disc to the place i purchased it and got a full refund and told the management about sony's obvious bait and switch. and they agreed to post signs pointing out the lack of superior sound on the sony dualdisc titles.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2004
First of all, John Mayer is NOT trying to be someone else...He's defining himself, and he moves towards doing so in leaps and bounds on Heavier Things.
For some reason, a number of reviewers here do not seem to have an understanding of John or his music. In fact, one reviewer thought that by Heavier Things, John was creating a heavy metal album. Seriously man, what the f*ck?
Many people feel as though this album was rushed. This is true, but the implications of that approach are not nearly as significant as many believe. Mayer wrote a few of the songs on Heavier Things while on the road during a relentless touring schedule lasting nearly the entirety of the break between albums, or two years. They were road tested and approved by his most dedicated fans. The remainder of the songs were crafted in what little downtime Mayer enjoyed, out of his self-described "psychological hypochondria" and tendency to panic about even the smallest things in his life. This mechanism leads to a number of inquisitive, insightful, and pensive songs about things with which most people are concerned in life. The interior, heavier things.
Heavier Things is a very solid album and had just the right amount of time put into it. Mayer has shyed away from the radio-friendly pop of "No Such Thing" and "Your Body is a Wonderland" in favor of getting back to his true influences, like Clapton, Vaughan, and the Police. The album's best two tracks begin the journey (Clarity) and wrap it up (Wheel).
Bigger Than My Body *****
Something's Missing *****
New Deep *****
Come Back to Bed *****
Home Life ****
Split Screen Sadness *****
Only Heart ****
For what it is, Heavier Things is a remarkable sophomore release (not counting the Inside Wants Out EP). Between this album and most recently his summer tour, it is increasingly apparent that Mayer is intent on moving in the musical direction that he has always wanted to pursue. Anyone in doubt of Mayer's abilities as a songwriter will surely be in for a most pleasant surprise, as he has returned to the studio and what he calls "the lab" to begin working on his third full-length record. Progressing more quickly than anyone in recent memory, Mayer is undoubtedly now at a level all by himself and can only continue his ascension to even greater heights.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2003
If you have even an ounce of appreciation for a talented artist who can write lyrics and play guitar like nobodies business, then this is a Cd for you. Alot of reviews here talk about him "selling out" to pop culture, abandoning his roots, changing his room for squares look or accusing him of doing another room for squares.
Can i simply say, does it matter?
Seperate the artist and situation from the ART. This is music, people, not a personality contest. So whether you choose to be a John Mayer fan or a closet John Mayer fan is besides the point. Just LISTEN to this Cd. You can feel the emotion reverberate through you, as corny as that sounds. As many others have said, you will not fall in love at first listen. It takes maybe 3-5 to fall in the groove, and get to the point where Heavier Things takes permenant residence in your CD player. Heres a little guide of each song, although i won't feign being an expert on how music is put together..
1. Clarity- a very light song, infused with a light keyboard. I think it touches most upon enlightenment that nothing is forever.
THE BEST LINE: "Was there a second of time I looked around? Did i sail through or drop my anchor down?
2. Bigger than my Body- I love this for its upbeat tempo and singable lyrics. Catchy and mood-boosting
THE BEST LINE: "Why is it not the time? Where is there more to learn? Shed this skin I've been trippin in/never to quite return"
3. Something's Missing- takes the tempo down a notch, thoughtful lyrics, admittedly not the best though
THE BEST LINE: "I can't be sure that this state of mind / Is not of my own design"
4. New Deep- admits that he looks into things very much. This is a very emotionally touching and beautiful song, for some reason. Just listen to it.
THE BEST LINE: "And look at the stars / Dont it remind you just how feeble we are? Well it used to i guess"
5. Come Back to Bed- Wonderful rich melody, infused with his soft guitar.. a little bit love-songy, but great use of lyrics
THE BEST LINE: "But don't leave me 98.6 degrees of seperation from you baby / Come back to bed"
6. Home Life- very eclectic, a lot of synth in here, catchy lyrics, GREAT crescendo and singable refrain
THE BEST LINE: "I can tell you this much / I will marry just once / and if it doesn't work out / Give her half of my stuff
7. Split Screen Sadness- this may be biased because its my favorite, but its just all around AMAZING. its truly the lyrics that may leave you crying, If you've ever gone through an emotional love
THE BEST LINE: "All you need is love is a lie / We had love but we still said goodbye / Now we're tired battered fighters"
8. Daughters- Slow, interesting subject matter. Many love it, I say its A-OK. Filled with soaring voice, up and down it goes
THE BEST LINE: "On behalf of every man / looking out for every girl / you are the god in the weight of her world"
9. Only Heart- Not the ultimate, upbeat, catchy, very reminiscent of many RFS songs..back to his famed wittiness in the likes of such songs as My Stupid Mouth
THE BEST LINE: "Your phone was really broken / I tried your number twice"
10. Wheel- DEEP. Thoughtful, pensive, nice soft melody sort of drifts along. The lyrics totally make up for any overly dragging slow tempo.
THE BEST LINE: "Where someone's last goodbye / blends in with someone's sigh / Cause someones comin home / in hand a single rose"
That concludes that portion of my review. In conclusion, i just need to stress how essential this CD is for my personal survival. Maybe its just me, but i predict will really hit home. WHen you are feeling depressed, he understands you. When your just sitting, thinking and reminiscing, his song will almost remind you of your past. When you are happy, you will hear the beautiful melodies and at times very humourous twists JOhn puts on the lyrics. And for the ladies out there, when you are bored, John gives you a good idea of what you are looking for in the perfect guy.
I can only hope many people enjoy this CD as much as I do.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2004
I found this CD remarkably similar to his last. Most every song is a pleasure to listen to, and there are a handful (4) that I really love and listen to over and over.
I think that sometimes familiarity with an artists much loved "old work" can create an expectation that few CD's can fill in the first few listens...
My advice to those that are dissapointed: Don't throw this one out. Play in when you're in the shower, let is sit in the background; give it a few more listens and I'll bet Heavier Things will start to take root and earn the appreciation I think it truly deserves.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2003
At first I thought this cd lacked something. I didn't feel it was as good as the first one, but after a couple of minutes into it I started loving it. I am glad it is different from his first one. I loved his first one greatly, but why get repetitive with music when there are so many different things to experiment. I personally love this cd. I think it stands out more than his first one. I also feel that the songs from "Heavier Things" are more catchy than those from "Room for Squares". Although, not all the songs are catchy. Some, like "Daughters" I could easily live without. Some, like "Clarity" and "Homelife" I could sing all day. They're more upbeat and pleasent (which is how most songs on this cd are). I feel it is a great investment for any John Mayer fan or even for those who aren't big fans. If you like John Mayer I would also truly recommend Maroon 5, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Josh Kelley, and Vertical Horizon. They're all fantastic as well.