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Born And Raised
Mayer goes back to the future of rock'n'roll
Jackie Hayden, 11 Jun 2012
On Born And Raised, John Mayer angles for rock god status by association, namechecking those in the Pantheon who beat him to it. Opening track ‘Queen Of California’ alone refers to Neil Young and ‘After The Goldrush’; borrows the opening line from Dylan’s ‘If You See Her Say Hello’; and namechecks Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Indeed some of the originals actually play on the disc, including Graham Nash, David Crosby, and legendary sessioneer Jim Keltner. It’s a more acoustic-based album than his previous works, with a vocal style less intense than before.
There’s a Pogue-ish feel to ‘The Age Of Worry’. Mayer grumpily uses the Paul Simon-esque ‘Speak For Me’ to snipe at Rolling Stone and music radio. Although it could be about anybody, Jennifer Aniston is the rumoured subject of ‘Shadow Days’, with its shameless guitar solo straight from George Harrison. ‘Something Like Olivia’ has the tenderness of a man lusting for his friend’s woman, and ‘Love Is A Verb’ evokes Van’s ‘Crazy Love’. All in all, it’s a mixed bag.