John Mayer – Sob Rock (2021) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

John Mayer – Sob Rock (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/48kHz | Time – 38:24 minutes | 464 MB | Genre: Pop Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Columbia

John Mayer explained how a driving creative force behind his new album, Sob Rock, was a desire to make a record that was equivalent to “shitposting” on the internet, in a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1.

Recalling how he was told at the start of his career that his music was “not what’s hot,” Mayer said, “What I would love other people to understand is that there is no more reason to have to adhere to any given idea of cool. Especially post-pandemic, which for the first time in anyone’s lives stopped the clock on the hyper modern day trade of culture.”

For Mayer, that freedom prompted him to approach his new music in a way that was more provocative, that might get him in trouble, or at least have someone tell him, “This is shit.” He continued: “I made a record, that to me at the time, only in a way to coax something out of me that I wouldn’t have normally done – shitpost a record. It’s called Sob Rock because it’s a shitpost. But more importantly it’s what I thought was a shitpost, and this gets down to where artists sit in front of you and play you what they think is their garbage. And you go, ‘That’s the best thing I ever heard you play.’ It makes a mockery of their interpretation of the experience. Which is just enough to break out of the mold and make something unique.”

John Mayer sang on his 2001 debut Room for Squares, released when he was 22, about his “quarter-life crisis.” Now he’s 43 and his latest, Sob Rock, is right on time for the mid-life one. There’s a whole lot of taking stock on songs like the what-if ballad “Shouldn’t Matter But It Does,” which finds him thinking of a former love: “It could’ve been always, it could’ve been me/ We could’ve been busy naming baby number three.” The incredibly catchy “New Light” (produced by Kanye West collaborator No ID, it’s all upbeat yacht rock and blue-eyed soul), actually feels like a throwback to the lonely-boy longings of Mayer’s debut, only now he’s “pushing 40 in the friend zone.” Meanwhile, “I Guess I Just Feel Like” is pure existentialism: “I guess I just feel like nobody’s honest, nobody’s true … I guess I just feel like I’m the same way too,” he sings along with slow-burn blues guitar. Mayer has said that pandemic stress pushed him to reach for the “security-blanket” ’80s soft rock of his childhood, and the record is at once FM-radio familiar but not a punchline. Credit producer Don Was, who knows from delicious processed cheese, having steered Glenn Frey, Michael McDonald and Paul Young, among others. On the terrific “Last Train Home,” Mayer enlists a seen-it-all veteran in the form of Toto percussionist Lenny Castro, but also brings in contemporary country-pop heroine Maren Morris to stand up to the sizzle tone of his PRS Silver Sky guitar. “Til the Right One Comes” bounces like a Christine McVie cut, and the delightful “Wild Blue” never lets you forget that he’s a touring guitarist with the Grateful Dead. Mayer’s warm rasp-always walking the line of sultry and sad-shines on “Shot in the Dark” and the gently pulsing “Carry Me Away.” His offbeat sense of humor, which was entertainingly on display during his lockdown Instagram TV series, doesn’t usually make its way into songs. But one of the catchiest on Sob Rock is also one of the most confounding: The music is smooth as silk, the delivery sounds sincere, yet there’s Mayer singing Yoda-like lyrics for “Why You No Love Me”: “Why you no even care?…” – Shelly Ridenour

1. John Mayer – Last Train Home
2. John Mayer – Shouldn’t Matter but It Does
3. John Mayer – New Light
4. John Mayer – Why You No Love Me
5. John Mayer – Wild Blue
6. John Mayer – Shot in the Dark
7. John Mayer – I Guess I Just Feel Like
8. John Mayer – Til the Right One Comes
9. John Mayer – Carry Me Away
10. John Mayer – All I Want Is to Be With You