Battle Studies by John Mayer

7 July 2019

John Mayer’s new album, “Battle Studies,” took many of his fans by surprise. His talent didn’t surprise us, of course, but rather his diversity in musical style. Not only does it vary throughout the album, but it is drastically different from other albums. In the past, Mayer consistently sang along to the soft strumming of guitars and overall had a mellow acoustic style, even in his more upbeat songs.

“Battle Studies” surprises fans with a bluesy twist and a more rugged sound. Only his soulful lyrics stay true to his roots. In “Edge of Desire,” his powerful and passionate lyrics (“Don’t say a word just come over and lie here with me, ’cause I’m just about to set fire to everything I see”) allow the romantic attributes of his new album to shine through.

If you don’t possess eclectic taste in music, then “Battle Studies” will not be a good choice. But if you limit yourself to Mayer’s usual sound, you will miss out on a smorgasbord of fantastic musical nourishment.

I give major props to Mayer for his well-made changes in this album, changes that show his true talent and versatility. His smooth, soothing, angelic voice creates a heavenly contrast with the rough and raw guitar. One might think the bluesy guitar would swallow his voice, making it hard to hear and masking its softness, but it does quite the opposite. Mayer’s lyrics stand out boldly against the rough sounds and harmonizes unbelievably. His strong yet soft and powerful voice complements the funk and blues of the guitar in an unexpectedly pleasant way, sort of like the combination of peanut butter and apples.

“Battle Studies” took me by surprise, but in a most pleasant way. I commend Mayer for his diversity and recommend this album to any listener with eclectic tastes.

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