John Mayer – Room For Squares
Having just seen that John Mayer presented an award at the 2010 Logie awards (one day I will attend these!) I thought it was about time I shared with you the album that began his international career.
“Welcome to the real world she said to me, condescendingly”
This is how you are welcomed to one of John Mayer’s earlier albums Room for Squares. The first line of No Such Thing shows immediate promise for things to come. The lyrics that follow it are equally captivating with “I just found out there’s no such thing as a real world, just a lie you’ve got to rise above” holding the key to the song’s title. This lyric is one of my favourite Mayer lyrics. It might not be the most optimistic line, but it’s not pessimistic either. I’m a born cynic and I reckon quite a lot of Mayer’s writing comes from a place of cynicism.
Asking the rhetorical question Why Georgia, Mayer writes about doubting himself. At the time of writing, Mayer was yet to be portrayed as the so-called ‘womaniser’. I get the impression that he was still a little insecure back then. And you know what? I still think he still worries about the outcomes. It’s in his song writing where Mayer’s serious side can be seen.
You can see it in My Stupid Mouth. Written long before that Playboy interview, Mayer effectively foresaw the future. Saying silly things gets you in trouble. We all know that. But then again we all still say stupid things. We all have heard the “well anyways…” and forcefully wished for that elusive subject change only to discover it was already too late.
Women have always been a big part of Mayer’s press coverage. One such lady was fortunate enough to have Your Body is a Wonderland written about her. That lady is rumoured to be Jennifer Love Hewitt. Then again, this was who the media reported it to be about. So it quite easily could not be. Either way, it’s a rather catchy song. And he sounds sweet in it.
Neon sings of a girl buzzing in the same way that the aforementioned title does. It’s not the most buzzing song, it’s a reasonably slow song for Mayer with soft vocals of his electric guitar playing and the drum beats.
The metaphors of New York shine through at the beginning of City Love. “I never liked this apple much” plays on the cliché within it’s food related connotations. However it’s not a city that Mayer is declaring his love for, it’s a girl. (I know, who’d have thought it?!)
Next up come the two numerically titled tracks on the album. 83 sings of Mayer’s childhood whilst 3×5 uses the dimensions of a photograph to sing about the opportunities you can get if you just look at the world.
The non-specific title of Love Song For No One uses the first person perspective to carry the narrative that runs through the song. It plays on the emotions of wanting a relationship and potential missed opportunities to find the ‘one’. With the obvious locations being covered –the sandbox and the sidewalk are both prime locations to find true love apparently.
Back To You and Great Outdoors follow in due course with soft vocals combined with his outstanding guitar playing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mayer is ridiculously amazing on guitar.
Not Myself shows the softer side to Mayer’s vocals. He evens sings of being on his “best behaviour”. Whatever his best behaviour is, the media never seem to focus on it. John Mayer’s music deserves good press, yet he regularly features in the tabloids/gossip magazines for less desirable non-music related activities. These activities normally include those females that enter Mayer’s life.
The final track, St Patricks Day, manages to take the listener on a complete journey through a year. A year of a relationship perhaps. For me it simply emotes how much things can change in a year. Once again I sense some vulnerability in the song writing with lines such as “No one wants to be alone at Christmas time” suggesting that personal experience could have been used as inspiration. Then again, Mayer is a very creative songwriter so it could simply be fiction.
Room For Squares was the first Mayer album I ever listened to. Now I proudly own 79 tracks of Mayer’s and am grateful for ever being introduced to this album as it opened a door to discovering a truly incredible musician.