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After a notorious kiss and tell Playboy interview, John Mayer moved to remote Montana to escape the flack and recover from throat surgery. Lucky for us, while there he produced some of the best lyrics and melodies of his tabloid-tortured career.

Paradise Valley is a reboot from Mayer’s earlier alternative rock to the soul-country rock of early Eagles and Jackson Browne. It's not devoid of controversy, though, as he can't help but strike back at ex Taylor Swift's put-down song about him, "Dear John." On the first single from the album, "Paper Doll," over a catchy country rock-and-soul groove he tells Swift, "You're like 22 girls in one, and none of them know what they're running from." Mayer’s new girlfriend, Katy Perry, featured on one of his best new songs, "Who You love," also sends Swift a message: "Some have said his heart's too hard to hold, but you should see him when he shines."

After hearing opening numbers "Wildfire" and "Dear Marie," there’s no denying that Mayer has become the state of the art as a guitar picker, lyricist, and singer. In easy-listening piano ballad "I Will Be Found," Mayer sums up his career to date: "Maybe I'm a runaway train/ maybe that's a good thing." It may not be for your girlfriends, John, but it is for the music.

  • Album: Paradise Valley
  • Artist: John Mayer
  • Label: Columbia
  • Songs: (1) Wildfire (2) Dear Marie (3) Waiting on the Day (4) Paper Doll (5) Call Me the Breeze (6) Who You Love (7) I will be found (8) Wildfire (9) You're no one, until someone lets you down (10) Badge and a gun (11) On the way home
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Comments

Psycholizard Sept. 2, 2013 @ 2:43 p.m.

Setting aside whether we like the sound, John Mayer's voice problems demonstrates what every worthwhile voice teacher will tell you, that singing softly wrecks your voice.

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