John Mayer revisits delicate rock with squishy outcomes

“Sob Rock,” John Mayer (Columbia Documents) You can thank the pandemic for John Mayer’s eighth…

“Sob Rock,” John Mayer (Columbia Documents)

You can thank the pandemic for John Mayer’s eighth studio album. He has claimed he wrote the tracks to wrap listeners in the sonic comforter of soft rock. If you never like gentle rock, you can blame the pandemic for one particular much more factor.

Mayer kicks off the 10-observe “Sob Rock” with a gem: “Last Coach Household,” a throwback guitar-and-synth rocker with Maren Morris on history vocals that appears like it could have been on Eric Clapton’s 1986 album “August.” (Added credit rating for the good line “I’m not a fallen angel/I just fell guiding.”)

Other bright spots contain “New Light,” which finds Mayer suffering unrequited appreciate, or, as he states “pushing 40 in the buddy zone.” It has a funky vibe and a Santana-ish solo. And his “Wild Blue” has a neat Dire Straits truly feel.

If you are having a melancholy and retro experience right here, you are not erroneous. Unrushed, easily in the singer-songwriter pocket — if slightly beige — is the tone in this article, under the helm of iconic producer Don Was.

It straddles the line involving ’80s parody and homage, which the include also does, achieving for a “Miami Vice” and peak Richard Marx vibe. The guitar operate is Mayer at his ideal, throwing out attractive understated fireworks, but also many of their vehicles are unimpressive. “Sob Rock” generally sounds like warmed-above yacht rock.

For each “Guess I Just Experience Like” — with shimmering, B.B. King-impressed blues axe work — there is the lazy “Why You No Really like Me,” which appears like a lounge act long gone awry. “Carry Me Away” is as significant as a summertime breeze, and “All I Want Is To Be With You” reeks of fake moody depth, a U2 track without conviction.

Enthusiasts of Mayer hunting for clues into his private lifestyle will discover very little particular, aside from the intriguing line in “Shot in the Dim:” “I’ve loved seven other females and they all have been you.” And he has a good retort for why he hasn’t settled down however in “Til the Proper A single Will come:” “I know men and women broke down and defeated/Misplaced what they wanted in some miserable war/ So forgive me if I could possibly appear all over for a minute.”

A high-quality hard work, then, to attempt to resurrect the much-maligned style of ’80s gentle rock. But it typically feels like Mayer just fell guiding.


Mark Kennedy is at