Music Review: “Wave One” – John Mayer

john-mayer-wave-oneLaudy Issa

Like a man made wise by the uneven terrains of a difficult journey, John Mayer returns with a vibrant and yet content four-song EP, “Wave One.”

Prior to going off the grid, John Mayer would transform himself on a yearly basis with new singles, which is why it’s no surprise that he would come out with a different sound after a three-year hiatus of making original music.

While they retain a fresh spirit and original sound, the songs are also a cumulation of his early works. “Wave One” pays tribute to the folksy spirit of “Paradise Valley” and the bluesy acoustic vibes of “Continuum.”

A mature, grown Mayer gives us access into songs that, according to his Twitter account, “represent literally hundreds of hours of living inside these little worlds,” and we sure are glad he does.

With warm base and an uninterrupted rhythm, “Moving On and Getting Over” welcomes the listener to the beginning of what would be a smooth and refreshing sail. Using silence to emphasize his point is a first for Mayer, who disrupts the slick guitar riffs and drops the drums before punctuating each word of the sentence “But I still can’t seem to get you off my mind, and I do believe I feel you all the time.”

As the second song suggests with its title, Mayer is certainly not done “Changing.” This one’s a bit like a layered story, with the music changing along with the lyrics. Folkish, country-inspired traits build up into a masterful blues-rock guitar solo that reminds listeners of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. “Changing” is a good example of positive growth that retains the best of its roots.  

After the climb comes the fall. The radio-friendly song of the EP, “Love on the Weekend,” is nothing special. Having been released as a single in November, the song is like the rest of the mainstream country pop songs out there: catchy for a while but easily forgotten.

Calling upon big bangs and dinosaurs, “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” tells the story of beginnings and endings. The fourth and final song of the EP grabs the minds of its listeners with poignant lyrics and a soft, sad tone. Being both nostalgic and hopeful, the song has an “oh well” feel to it – the one that comes after a cathartic cry – that can be truly felt throughout the song with Mayer’s whistling.

By mixing folksy acoustics with blues, “Wave One” offers something for John Mayer fans of all generations. While “The Search for Everything” is yet to be released, the first wave of songs makes it safe to expect it to be a high caliber album.

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