John Mayer is back.
In the past few months, Mayer has given his fans a whole lot to look forward to. The singer released four new songs, revealed that a new album and North American tour is on the way in 2017, and announced that he will be playing alongside Dead & Company—Mayer’s side gig with some ex-Grateful Dead members—again this summer.
Most recently, Mayer dropped the first wave of songs from his upcoming album The Search for Everything, his first LP since 2013’s Paradise Valley. The release included three new tracks in addition to November’s “Love on the Weekend.” Perhaps the best of the bunch is “Moving On and Getting Over,” in which the crooner reaches back to his Continuum days and creates a song that feels familiar even after one listen. While the song includes sounds that are classic to Mayer, it is also infused with a jazzy funk element that is no doubt a result of Mayer’s time spent performing with Dead & Company. Mayer falls short with “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me,” an overly tender song which sounds like something you would hear during the credits of a Pixar film. The last track, “Changing,” is a piano ballad boasting an unexpected guitar solo, because we are talking about John Mayer after all.
Not too long ago, Mayer was making headlines for anything but music. After tumultuous relationships with celebrities like Taylor Swift, tabloids dubbed Mayer a womanizing bad boy. John Mayer, the shy singer from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was almost unrecognizable.
So Mayer did what we all sometimes need to do. He disappeared.
Mayer exiled himself to Montana to work on his music, and more importantly, to work on himself. What resulted was Paradise Valley, an album that encompassed Mayer’s self- imposed period of soul-searching. In just 11 songs, it’s easy to understand just how much the time spent living in Montana influenced the singer. His sound took on a folk-rock edge, and his lyrics carried far less baggage than before.
In August of 2015, Mayer made perhaps his strangest career move yet. After a chance encounter with Grateful Dead guitar player Bob Weir on the The Late Late Show, Mayer decided to go on a fall tour with Weir’s group Dead & Company. Stepping out of his comfort zone and out of his own spotlight, Mayer became a part of a whole. He performed alongside veterans like Jeff Chimenti and Mickey Hart, and perhaps most importantly, to an audience who didn’t entirely care who he was. Mayer was finally just another guy with a guitar.
In its entirety, The Search for Everything will be a culmination of everything Mayer has picked up from his four- year hiatus. The singer tweeted that “These songs represent literally hundreds of hours of living inside of these little worlds.” Every month, Mayer will be releasing four songs off of the album, contributing to an entirely different and personal story-telling experience.
John Mayer isn’t perfect and he knows it. He’s gone from shy guitarist, to music’s bad boy, to self-proclaimed, “recovered ego addict.” And who knows what he’ll become next. But that’s what truly makes Mayer an artist. His music is an autobiography of his ongoing journey to find himself, and we are privileged to just be along for the ride.