Parker's Pick - John Mayer-Room For Squares

Monday, April 8, 2002

Lasses and lads it's time for a round of Parker's Pick, by which critical music purchasing decisions should never be based. This round we will be reviewing up and comer John Mayer and his CD, Room For Squares. Mayer has managed to stay over five weeks in the 5 top of Parker's CD Preference Chart (that's PCDP Chart). Now, enjoy an unbiased review, based solely on taste and not on music industry politics.

Young up and coming artist John Mayer has been called by many a reviewer, "a mix of Sting and Dave Matthews", for both his raspy smoke filled bar room vocals, and his artistically playful yet meaningful lyrics. This can be considered an accurate statement in those regards, but the comparisons stop there. Mayer's lyrics are young and fresh.

But do not confuse young and fresh with campy. Mayer does not use pop culture as a crutch. Unlike pop trio sellouts L.F.O. and others, you won't find advertising in his lyrics for Abercrombie and Fitch or other swatches of modern day culture. Instead, most of Mayer's songs flow like poetry. But John Mayer should not be lumped into any particular category of music, especially one like pop, that's filled with fakes and frauds trying to catch the next wave. Instead Mayer is the next wave.

The first words you'll here on John Mayer's CD are "Welcome to the real world she said to me, condescendingly... take a seat, take your life, plot it out in black white". Fitting lyrics for a society and generation that has to have everything and know everything in advance, including as Mayer's musical sarcasm points out, taking their entire life's future and planning it out. This refreshing view on things sets the tone for the positive musical experience that is John Mayer.

In "No Such Thing", Mayer smoothly conveys that he was never Mr. Popular in high school, but never much cared. As he puts it "the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve". He goes on to ponder if the paths that most of our parents took, and most of us will take, are full of impending regret. This maturity in both subject and lyric is refreshing in a day of inferior musical product crammed full of boring toddler tunes and stripper anthems.

From songs about saying the wrong thing to a date over dinner like "My Stupid Mouth" to the perfect ill freaky na na booty grinding track "Your Body Is A Wonderland", John Mayer's Room For Squares is perfect stress release listening. You can feel comfortable popping John Mayer in during gatherings both social and private and just letting it ride. Just set the volume and tend to your company. While Room For Squares was recorded in a studio, his voice transports you to that laidback smoke filled bar from which his voice sounds it was conceived and birthed.

From breath to breath, beat to beat, and track to track, John Mayer's Room For Squares surfs the audible taste buds, leaving them fully satisfied but craving more.

If you're looking for a CD that will make you feel like a manly man with lots of screaming and angst, then this is NOT for you. If you're looking for a CD full of lovey-dovey ballads that make you soft and frilly, again this CD is NOT for you. Now, if you're looking for a collection of tunes that will make you feel real, human, and happy to be breathing then I highly recommend picking up John Mayer's Room For Squares.

Jason Parker is Afternoon Personality on Mix 96.5. He welcomes your comments, questions, and suggestions at

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