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John Mayer’s fourth studio set is mix of mid-tempo soul-pop, melancholy blues, and romantic serenades that combine to provide a genuinely satisfying experience. Taylor Swift joins Mayer on the poppy "Half of My Heart" that would not be out of place on Country Music Television. If you recall Mayer dabbled in country music last year when he recorded a special for CMT with Brad Paisley. Perhaps if this new record doesn’t sell well, Mayer will go the way of Kid Rock or Darius Rucker and start recording in Nashville. I wouldn't' count on it, though.

Battle Studies is John Mayer at his finest. Meticulously crafted songs laced with tasteful guitar work make even his sappy stuff, like album opener "Heartbreak Warfare,” tolerable. Fortunately, that track is quickly forgotten as Mayer redeems himself over the next ten. From his funky version of "Crossroads" to the clever "Assassin," the price of admission is well worth it. Songs such as "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye" and "Edge of Desire" should satisfy Mayer’s female fans. While songs like "Who Says" have enough edge to prevent the album from becoming redundant.

While the chaos of tabloid stardom has been the ruin of many great artists, Mayer appears to be holding up well. If Battle Studies is a sign of things to come, then the horizon looks fine.

  • Album title: Battle Studies
  • Artist: John Mayer
  • Label: Sony
  • Songs: (1) Heartbreak Warfare (2) All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye (3) Half of My Heart (4) Who Says (5) Perfectly Lonely (6) Assassin (7) Crossroads (8) War of My Life (9) Edge of Desire (10) Do You Know Me (11) Friends, Lovers, or Nothing
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