Thursday, May 31, 2012

Born and Raised

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So I sort of alluded to my die-hard love for John Mayer in last week's Friday We're In Love, but I just couldn't let the opportunity to review the entirety of Born and Raised pass me by. I'm sure there are lots of you who are thinking, "But, Mariah, he's a great big jerk face and WE DON'T LIKE HIM!" And to that I say, I KNOW he doesn't always make the best decisions in his personal life, but c'mon people, he's John FREAKING Mayer, lyrical genius and guitar god. My love for him runs deep, we're talking since the middle school days, when Room for Squares was the best thing to ever happen to my musical love life. So why doesn't everyone set aside their personal judgement and trust me when I say this album will complete your summer and give you LOTS OF FEELINGS.
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1) Queen of California- Rolling guitar riffs and a beat that'll stay stuck in your head for days, this song is classic JM. It's that perfect summer song, and if you aren't caught singing along at the top of your lungs while you ride around town, well then... I dare you to listen and not get sucked in to the catchy tune.

2) The Age of Worry- Oh man, oh man, this is THE SONG, the one I've been waiting for. Seriously, it's the anthem, the one that speaks to your heart and soul and makes you believe that music really can change the world. There's an echoing chorus, some reverb, and a pretty guitar tune with a building chorus. It's the song that defines my life, the life of all recent graduates into the school of quarter-life crisis-land. So, thank you, John Mayer. I couldn't have said it better myself.

3) Shadow Days- This is a solid, classic Mayer song with some country sensibility thrown in. And I do like it, but I'll have to get back to you when I actually love it again- when the radio is done over-playing it.

4) Speak for Me- John Mayer, why do your songs GIVE ME SO MANY FEELINGS, really, it's NOT FAIR. I'm hard pressed to find anything I don't like, and this song is no exception. I love that it's quiet and that his voice cracks a little on the high notes and brings a little tear to my eyes. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU, and I'm not sorry. Sweet and simple with a gorgeous message. Speak for Me is another winner.

5) Something Like Olivia- I find myself randomly singing this song: in the grocery store, in the shower, in the car, and then I get a little freaked out because this song is about how much you want to burn some petticoats with a girl named Olivia, and that's my younger sister's name, but I still can't help but LOVE THIS SONG.

6) Born and Raised- Hello, title song, would you like to go out with me? Cause I'm thinking we might have something special, and I really don't normally go out with songs like you, you know, a little bit country, but I'm willing to give it a go. Especially when you start being all earnest and drawing me in with your harmonica and pretty words. 

7) If I Ever Get Around to Living- Now this sounds almost like it belongs on Heavier Things, and I like it, and I also really like it when you do that falsetto thing. I really do. And I can appreciate where you were coming from with this one, because don't we all feel a little stuck in life now and then. So, ditto, JM, ditto.

8) Love is a Verb- I'm dancing to this song at my wedding. I just needed to put that out there, because, hello, "when you show me love, I don't need your words, because love ain't a thing, love is a verb..." FEELINGS INDUCED MELTDOWN. I would HAPPILY show you, JM, just keep on asking.

9) Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967- This song is my soulmate in musical form. When I first got the album and was doing the customary listen-through, I thought The Age of Worry was my favorite. BUT THEN I got to Walt Grace, and his life story inspired me and his repeated melody gave me chills. And I think this might seriously be up there with Gravity and it takes A LOT to be even in the same category as that song. And can we just have a whole album based around this song: "Cause when you're done with this world, you know the next is up to you."

10) Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey- More harmonica, which I'm pretty sure is always a good thing, and this song was my least favorite, but I'll admit it's growing on me. You've got to take what you can get.

11) A Face To Call Home- "I am an architect of days that haven't happened yet," ugh, that first line gets me every time. If you haven't been listening to the lyrics up to this point (which is a SHAME because JM writes the best lyrics, and I'm saying that in the most un-biased way I can), then you'd better start. Because, this is good stuff, people. I'm going to need a guy to write a song like this about me. And there's the bridge. I LOVE JM's bridges, they always have an awesome build-up and an even better pay off. *sigh*

12) Born and Raised (Reprise)- And now we've, sadly, made it to the end. A lovely old-school sounding, end to the album. Now it's time to go listen to it all over again.

I almost hate to admit this, because I did love John's last album, Battle Studies, it was beautiful and different, but I was afraid he'd never be able to live up to Continuum, the album that defined my college years and the subsequent heartache the comes from growing up and growing apart from your first love. Born and Raised exceeded my expectations. It's the album that understands how tough it is to join the adult world and try to make a name for yourself. How hard it is to be forced to grow up and make mistakes. And do you know why this album does all those things? Because John Mayer understands. So that's why I'm urging you all to give Born and Raised a chance. I've fully admitted that I'm a biased JM fangirl, but that's because it's well-earned. His heartfelt lyrics and soul-searing melodies will cause your FEELINGS-filled hearts to weep with happiness. I promise.

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