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Battle Studies Import

4.1 out of 5 stars 304 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2009 studio album from the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. Since the release of his hit album, Room For Squares, in 2001, Mayer has progressed from a sensitive acoustic-based performer into a full-fledged paparazzi-baiting superstar with acclaimed musical detours into Jazz, Blues and Folk. Battle Studies is yet another milestone for Mayer, containing some of his best work to date. Features the single 'Who Says'.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 17, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: November 17, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 46 minutes
  • ASIN: B002QEXN2K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ashley Wright on November 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
John Mayer set the bar too high on the last album and falls short of his high standard on this one. A lot of his songs are good, but there's nothing here that has the punch of Continuum, which I believe is his finest work and an absolute masterpiece. On Continuum, he shows how fantastic his guitar skills are and brings his blues influence out in full force. On Battle Studies, he sinks backwards towards some of his older, less sophisticated works. After several listens, this album has grown on me, but it's only enjoyable, not fantastic.
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Format: Audio CD
For anyone who happens to be on Twitter, John Mayer is a must follow (along with @MyLathamLife and @NewCDReviews). His incredible sense of humor and lack of inhibition is good for an almost guaranteed daily laugh. What's interesting is that his humor rarely carries over to his music and when it does, it's subtle. Perhaps it's the "Adult Contemporary" label he's given, or perhaps it's his desire to musically follow in the footsteps of his influences; Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Robert Johnson to name a few. Whatever it may be, John Mayer has been releasing mature, blues-based, increasingly guitar featured music since 1999 with almost always fantastic results.

For John Mayer fans, this album is a familiar continuation of the work he has released throughout the decade. Although different instruments are occasionally added to the mix and various styles and influences filter in throughout, the real feature remains his guitar. The first track, "Heartbreak Warfare" opens with strings fading in followed by delayed guitar reminiscent of U2's The Edge. While these sounds may be experimental for Mayer, they seem to set the mood for the remainder of the album. Following "Heartbreak Warfare" is "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye," which has one of the most beautiful choruses Mayer has produced. My guess is he was listening to a great deal of Chicago as he wrote it.

Although the romantic Adult Contemporary themes prevail on the majority of the record, Mayer's sense of humor does gently poke through on the tracks "Half of My Heart" and "Who Says." On "Half of My Heart," Mayer shares the track with Taylor Swift and sings about loving someone while always looking for someone else.
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Format: MP3 Music
After a couple weeks of listening to this, I'm ready to admit that I like the album. But I will stand by the argument that he is capable of much better songwriting than we hear on Battle Studies. The funny thing is, that seems to be the way it was intended. You get the idea Mayer got exactly what he was going for here: a straight forward, pleasant tribute to late 70's/80's pop music (You will hear the Fogelberg, Phil Collins, U2, James Taylor, etc). Lyrically it's honest and heartfelt, but not adventurous or particularly creative.

For the last several months, I've been following John on twitter, and it's impossible not to fall in love with him as a personality. This and the sheer brilliance of Continuum set up expectations that were hard to meet...and they haven't. Basically what I'd say is that it's a perfectly enjoyable album and by no means has he lost his edge, but hard to swallow when you know he's capable of magnificent. The cover on the CD, obviously in place to appease his fans on the blues end of things, classic "Crossroads" is a blast, but entirely popped out and not with the kind of grit Stevie Ray would approve of.

Assassin is a brilliant, gutsy track. But it's no "Belief" or "Vultures". "Heartbreak Warfare" is a full, orchestrated pop song...but it's not "I Don't Trust Myself"...same with "All We Ever Do" vs. "Slow Dancing...", etc. It stands on its own, and comparing it to your other albums you'll realize he's great. But compare it with the standards he set himself, and I think we have better to look forward to.

Key Tracks: Heartbreak Warfare, Half of My Heart, Assassin, Do You Know Me
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Format: Audio CD
There is no doubt in my mind that pop veteran John Mayer can write pleasant pop music and accent it nicely with excellent guitar playing. Battle Studies tries to incorporate a small portion of each, assumedly, to keep his pop and his trio fans both satisfied.

Musically, Battle Studies is a small departure from past Mayer recordings. Of course, Mayer experiments with new guitar sounds ("Half of My Heart," "Crossroads," "Edge of Desire"), but the basic principle of his writing says the same; focus on simplicity.

While many of the tracks are initially acceptable, they are rarely truly completed in their arrangements. Potentially great tracks like "Edge of Desire," "Perfectly Lonely," and "Heartbreak Warfare" lack a simple variation at their middle or end points and, consequently, become substantially redundant before they reach their end points. "Perfectly Lonely" especially banks on repetition to fill out a wide open arrangement, but it isn't nearly effective enough to bring the tune home.

Mayer even attempts a Cream/Clapton classic, "Crossroads," midway through his newest product. He certainly manages to suck every bit of emotion and human characteristic out of the track. The MIDI-sounding guitar effect is a wreck, and the poppy format is nauseating.

And don't even get me started on lead single "Who Says." The guitar arrangement is the polar opposite of creative, the lyrics are lazy and meaningless, and the tune is instantly forgettable. It's just plain poor songwriting, and why he chose this specific track for inclusion on Battle Studies (or any album, for that matter) is so far beyond me that I cannot express it to you with actual words.
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