on January 24, 2002
We all go through those periods when we look at our entire CD collection and say "YUCK!". After that we say a silent prayer to the CD god to send us a new album to renew our faith in music. John Mayer's ROOM FOR SQUARES hits the spot! You'll be listening to his inner heart with every track. God bless this guy's parents. They did a wonderful job!
As a songwriter, John has a very unique perspective. I can only compare it to Dar Williams in that it's a hybrid or worldly wisdom and childlike innocence. It's as though he's experiencing everything he's writing about for the first time and he's thrilled with the new discoveries. The consistency is pretty solid too. Each track is well polished and beautifully worded.
His sound is that of shimmering pop, without the computers. His melodies are graceful and catchy as all get out. His voice has a similar timbre as Dave Matthews but (with all due respect) his falsetto is far better. There's a clarity in John's voice that I don't experience in Dave's either. The tones are both fun and reflective. Great album to clean your house to on a Saturday!
By buying this album you're basically purchasing the diary of a bright eyed boy looking at the world through newly acquired adult eyes. It's positively enchanting.
on March 9, 2002
John Mayer has a voice that captures the sultry sound of Seal and recalls the crisp rhythyms of Dave Matthews. Take a listen to this CD and you will notice the influence of many genres and musicians: jazz, blues, R&B as well as rock. Mayers muisc is mellow enough to listen to when you are working and up enough that you will find yourself dancing in your chair without realizing it.
He is a classic songwriter... in what is a nice contrast to much of the mainstream music, his lyrics are not a streaming jumble of verbiage leaving you nothing but a vague sense of frustration, but words to relate to. His songs are truly artistic and expressive, showcasing the sometimes meloncholic beauty of life. His subject matter is of a wandering soul, for whom every experience is a new one. I could have skipped "No Such Thing" because I twitch whenever I hear the words "high school" but his point is a good one- draw your own lines, there is no real world. Likewise, all his songs are effective at delivering a message. In the catchy "Why Georgia" the message is a question we all ask, Where am I going? Life, "am I living it right"? Ever say something you wish you could take back? Johns answer is "My Stupid Mouth". If you are a woman, you wish you were facing Johns singing, "Your Body Is A Wonderland" (me, personally, I'm jealous of whoever that might be). You'd swear you've had "Neon" in your collection forever, with a natural melody and an R&B/jazz feel that will have you singing along. If you can't relate to these songs, you just aren't human... "City Love" conveys the excitement of a new relationship, "83"- stolen innocence, "3x5"- a long distance relationship, "St. Patricks Day"- overrated singlehood and the dating scene. "Great Indoors" is Mayers version of yelling, 'Carpe Diem!' as well as suggesting we look inside ourselves. I did. Hearing one song, "Love Song For No One", made me buy this album... I recommend you do the same.
If you like Train, Dave Matthews, Peter Gabriel, Sister Hazel or Seal, there is very good chance you will like this CD. And it will definitely leave you with a smile.
on March 9, 2002
John Mayer has burst onto the pages of Rolling Stone and so will soon burst forth from obscurity as his name spreads like wildfire all over my highschool as the downloading of his songs begin. Hopefully most of those downloaders will eventually buy this album which is a beautiful combonation of Jack Johnson, Jude, and Dave Matthews. Although Mayer's lyrics often give away his young age and lack complexity, his musical talent is evident and his passion about his music is clear. His sexy vocals, sexy lyrics, and wonderfully upbeat and nostalgic songs immediatly hooked me. "Your Body is a Wonderland" is by far the best song on the disc, romantic, sexy, and soulful. I can't wait to go see him on his US tour. This is a necessary CD (and soon to be famous artist) for any listeners of GOOD music!
on October 23, 2001
The amazon.com reviewer did not do justice to this great young singer songwriter. John is an amazing guitarist, and the cd does not do him justice at all(hence the four stars). If he is playing in a town near you go see him now, before he explodes on the music scene. The first time I saw him over a year ago there were maybe 10 people at the gig, now he is playing to sell out shows in Atlanta and 5,000 in Athens. Seeing him live is an amazing experience, worth all 10-15 bucks you will pay.
John's music is hard to describe, a bit of jazz mixed in with pop lyrics that touch my heart and make me want to find a guy who will tell me he loved me even in "grey sweatpants and [with] no makeup". Influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Coltrane, and Dave Matthews (John recently came out of the closet on this one) John Mayer is an act you don't want to miss.
on November 6, 2003
For a 4 star rating, you'd think I love the cd, but let me say a few things. I've read a bunch of these reviews and I must admit the comments are just as interesting as the music itself. He is hated and adored but not much in between. Many musician types (like me, but not me specifically) keep saying John Mayer is too teeny bopper with a guitar, or that he's too sappy and gutless. The album does have some over-sentimentality that comes off as a bit gratuitous (but pleases females). John is a guy who can play the hell out of an acoustic guitar, HAPPENS to have a singing voice like Dave Matthews, and is apparently a little too easy-going. I very much admire his lyrical ability. He can say things in a very effective poignant way, although the lyrics can seem contrived at times. With lines like "I could have met you in a sand-box", it's evident he was thinking of how he could score as much tail as quickly as possible with the girls in Lit. Class.
I think what many critical people about the album are trying to say, but aren't aware of is that John IS very talented but also too smart for his own good. In other words, he knows exactly what he's doing when he plays the shy goofball (I do it all the time). If he is to ever gain full respect for his talent he will have to put aside all the nice, nostalgic things of his adolescence and start digging a little deeper. I'm sure this will come with age. For the moment he's singing to all the good girls and boys, and middle aged moms, but eventually he will have to start singing solely for himself. I hope he does because he has a unique sound and perspective, though both have a little growing up to do. But that's normal.
on June 21, 2001
Have you ever been out on a date and said something stupid that you wished you could take back? Ever thought that maybe you've already met 'The One' and just passed them on the sidewalk? Ever been driving down the highway and wanted to just keep on going, away from everything? Well, so has John Mayer.
Mayer writes songs about feelings and experiences that are universal, but expresses them in a voice that is uniquely his own. I doubt there is anyone out there who can't relate to at least one song on "Room for Squares". His lyrical brillance makes John's CD something to be poured over, like a great novel that you can't put down. What makes these 12 songs so amazing is that they aren't like every song you hear on the radio, about falling in or out of love, but about real life, and what everyone goes through. As John himself has said, "I'm just like all of you, I just have a nicer guitar...". Musically, John (a former student at Berklee College of Music)is among the most talented guitarists in music today, and on this CD he is backed by musicians of the same caliber. Talent like Mayer's is rare, and the best way to really appreciate it is to witness it live...but if you can't get to a show, "Room for Squares" is the next best thing.
This will absolutely be the best $13 that you've spent in a long time...this CD will become the soundtrack to your life as soon as you put it in your CD player. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars, and after you hear it, you'll know why!
on June 16, 2002
"Editor" Rickey Wright's review of John Mayer's debut CD "Room for Squares" is not only invalid but rather incoherent as well. Wright seems to be one of the many who worship Dave Matthews as the beginning and end of music as we know it. His rambling seems to be more a sorry attempt at intelligence and snobbery than an actual review. If Wright had taken the necessary steps in reviewing Mayer's album he would have discovered an already polished songwriter whose introspective lyrics provoke thought rather than the bland repitition that plagues much of popular music. Wright is correct in one observation when he states that Mayer seems to be singing and forgetting that there are others present. I agree but I personally find it refreshing to hear an honest approach and response to Mayer's problems rather than a contrite solution meant to appease the listener. Mayer invites the listener into his world in which the listener can identify with his issues rather than forcing himself into the lives of a diverse listening community. Mayer is a force to be reckoned with and an amazing talent. "Room For Squares" is a remarkable debut album.
on November 29, 2002
I am usually pretty turned off when some little upstart attempts to imitate a band/person I love. Now, I happen to be a huge DMB fan and have been for a good number of years now. And since everyone compares John Mayer to Dave, you'd think I wouldn't like the guy at all. But I do. Because, really, they're not similar at all. If John Mayer happens to sound somewhat like Dave Matthews, that doesn't mean he's trying to rip him off--maybe he just sings like that! And the music styles are totally dissimilar. There's nothing quite like DMB's music, and John Mayer certainly isn't trying to imitate it. This is more up-tempo rock--acoustic guitar and voice driven (no strings, no sax) that has more in common with David Gray than Dave Matthews.
I am NOT a big fan of repetitive teeny-bopper radio-friendly stuff, either, and I don't think this album falls into that category. I like the lyrics, maybe because at 23 I can relate (a quarter-life crisis? Why yes!). I once spent a whole week searching for the lunch box I had when I was little (83). I have carried on distance romances where it seems all you're doing is taking pictures of things instead of seeing them yourself (3 x 5). I've been desperate to have a Christmas-Valentine's Day love (St. Patrick's Day). No Such Thing drew me to the album in the first place, because I too have dreams of going to my 10 year reunion a bigger success than all those "popular" kids.
Maybe I'm a square, too. But for all the flak this guy is catching, I think his lyrics are a good deal better than most of the stuff on the radio now. And at least his songs sound different from one another. Yeah, he's not Dave Matthews (who is ten years older, and ten years is a lot in the songwriting material department). But he's not bad. Anyone in their mid-twenties is sure to at least understand the songs. I really happen to like them.
on January 19, 2004
I bought this CD when it was first released, and after almost three years it's still in my stereo like once a week. I figured Mayer deserved a review from me for keeping me so entertained.
The actual sound of the album is pretty mellow - basically acoustic with Mayer's rough vocals. The first time I listened, I thought all the tracks sounded too similar and I almost regretted buying the album. But then I started paying attention to the lyrics, and the boy was in my head. Seriously. Mayer's lyrics are remarkable in the way that they perfectly capture whatever situation he's addressing, and his tunes are catchy to boot. The songs really don't sound much alike after a few listens. Here's my breakdown:
No Such Thing - first single, drew me to the album, and in spite of its being way overplayed on the radio I still really like this one. I love the subject of breaking away from what "they" expect.
Why Georgia - "the kind of morning that lasts all afternoon". Stellar lyric...I can't explain it precisely, but I've had those days. Also this song always makes me want to go on a road trip.
My Stupid Mouth - This song cracks me up, though it's not my favorite musically. You can just hear the annoyance in his voice that the girl won't cut him some slack. Mayer's got a sense of humor.
Your Body is a Wonderland - Interestingly, this single probably got more airplay than "No Such Thing," and the overplay kind of ruined it for me.
Neon - I like this one. Nifty guitar lick at the beginning.
City Love - Not a big fan of this one. Maybe my least favorite track. But redeemed by the lyric, "she keeps a toothbrush at my place / as if I had the extra space."
83 - Mayer captures nostalgia for childhood perfectly. There are days when I would give my right arm to go back to the simplicity of being six years old.
3x5 - If you need a reason to buy this album, find this song on iTunes and pay attention to both the music and the lyrics. This track is absolutely fantastic. Sample lyric: "Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words." Who is this guy?
Love Song for No One - My other favorite song. Anybody who's been single for an extended period of time will absolutely relate to that feeling that sometimes washes over you - "I'm tired of being alone / So hurry up and get here."
Back to You - Great to sing along to, though nothing oustanding.
Great Indoors - Another one I didn't notice until the lyrics caught my ear recently. "Bet you didn't even know / Depends on how far out you go / The channel numbers change." Love it.
Not Myself - interesting topic, kind of a moody feel.
St. Patrick's Day - Nice, mellow closer for the album.
Overall? This took some time, but Room for Squares is undoubtedly one of my favorite CDs in my collection, and I play it through (without skipping) quite often. The lyrics make it one of those albums you can actively listen to - you don't have to be doing anything else. The new album, Heavier Things, is an entirely different style and personally I much prefer this one. And no, I don't think he sounds like Dave Matthews, except maybe a little in his actual vocals...the songs as a whole have a completely different quality.
Side note: if you have a chance to see this guy live, do it. Jams, stories, covers of classics - all the extras you don't get on a studio album that make a concert worth the ticket price.
on September 19, 2001
Ok, John Mayer owes me dinner or at the very least a thank you on his next cd:)) I have bought this cd three times, in three different versions! The first an indie cd in Atlanta, then the more polished version on Aware, and now the major label debut. If you like Ben Folds, Dave Matthews, Barenaked Ladies to name but a few, then you will love John Mayer. This guy (kid really) has got talent just pouring from him. He plays a great guitar, great voice and writes witty lyrics with hooks that stick in your head. The over all groove is kinda jazzy-pop. My fave tracks are "Back To You" an amazing mid-tempo love song worth getting the cd for alone, "Neon" is so catchy I sing it long after the cd ends, "Your Body Is A Wonderland" a really sexy ode, "My Stupid Mouth" great, clever lyrical tale. It's just an awesome cd, best find of 2001. I've been listening to it non-stop lately it just boosts my mood. Buy, buy, buy.