John Mayer is one of those artists that started with some songs I liked, but he has grown into one of my favorite artists. I have always been partial to guitar players so I guess it was inevitable. Mayer does a mix that is truly unique which I call “Blues Pop”, and it doesn’t matter how “average” his songs might start off sounding. Once you give his albums repeated listens all the songs are in your head for months.
“Sob Rock” got tons of media coverage upon it’s release focusing on a nostalgic “tribute” to the 1980’s. Although I do hear elements of the 1980’s it doesn’t strike me as anything glaringly similar to the decade. Maybe if I were a musician I would feel differently, but since I am just the average fanatical music nut I don’t hear anything that sounds “dated” or from any other decade. Actually, they all sound very fresh and flow really well from start to finish.
If there is anything negative I would say about “Sob Rock” it would be the length (38 minutes) and the fact that three songs from it were previously released (a long time ago). “New Light” was out in 2018, while “I Guess I Just Feel Like” and “Carry Me Away” were available in 2019. “New Light” peaked at (#2) on Byrdbored and is a really good addition to the Mayer collection, but I would have just preferred John add all those songs as bonus tracks and release ten completely new songs. I do admit those songs do fit the vibe of the album though, and Mayer is the professional so what does this music nut know? I selfishly just wanted more new music. You can just call me greedy Byrdman.
As far as the other seven tracks, “Last Train Home” is my favorite and spent four weeks at (#1). I have friends that are also John Mayer fans that don’t like it however. I am not sure what they are hearing, because it simply grew stronger with every listen. At first I thought it needed more guitar, but as I listened more and more I realized guitar in the gaps works even better. Once again, John is the professional, and he apparently knows what he is doing. “Last Train Home” is expected to finish in the top five songs of 2021 so that obviously speaks for itself.
The song that really has surprised me is “Wild Blue” which hit (#2) on the SongByrd 60 as of last week (for the week ending November 6, 2021). It could become another (#1) hit from the album for Mayer in the coming weeks, and it has grown into one of my favorites. I think I connect with the lyrics mostly and can relate to the realization of “finding myself when I lost you”. There definitely is “unlikely beauty” in letting someone go emotionally. Of course, there is the unreal guitar playing of Mayer which is like someone getting out of bed in the morning. Automatic!
Another song I most definitely relate to is “Shouldn’t Matter But It Does”. I think most people have had at least one relationship that for some reason it didn’t work, but it should have. This is a very simple song, but some of the best ones are. The production is an absolute grand slam on this one as well. The backing vocals and instrumentation are amazing and made the hair on my arms stand up the first time I heard this. I either have a condition I need to see a doctor for or the song connected. I hope it is the latter, but you never know.
Another couple of songs have some potential down the road as “Shot In The Dark” and “Til The Right One Comes” both are solid hits I believe. I don’t think they will be as big as the previous songs mentioned, but still very good songs that could grow on me as time goes by. After all, I didn’t think “Wild Blue” would be as big a hit initially either.
“Sob Rock” definitely has a smooth vibe, and I have found myself listening to it every week (a couple of times) for four months now. My immediate reaction was to downplay it, but after multiple listens I changed my mind. The album is filled with songs that grow on you, and if you aren’t careful might end up some of your favorite John Mayer songs.
The discussion of where “Sob Rock” might fall on the Mayer album list is interesting. I feel if you are someone like me that loves “Last Train Home” it could eventually be in your top three Mayer albums. However, if you aren’t a fan of “Last Train Home” it could be in the bottom three. From a hits perspective, it could spawn more hits than any other Mayer album. No album will beat “Continuum” for (#1) hits in my book (most likely) since it scored five. However, “Sob Rock” could end up with seven hit songs on Byrdbored. That is nothing to sneeze at. The album became Mayer’s fourth (#1) album on Byrdbored spending two weeks on top. It appears to be on it’s way into Mayer’s top four ranked albums at the very least.
The bottom line for you the music fan, however, is if you are a John Mayer fan I think most will like it. My biggest piece of advice would be not to judge “Sob Rock” too early though. If given a chance I think the album is a very solid piece of Mayer music history. It is chilled out and the title is very fitting, but I haven’t been sobbing uncontrollably since listening to it so that is good right? 4 Byrd Beaks!