Music Monday: Three Things about every song on John Mayer's Paradise Valley album

It's no secret that I love John Mayer. He's the only singer I can think of who I like almost all of his songs, and whose musical talent I respect whole-heartedly. His albums somehow, over the years, have tracked well to my personal life dramas (excitement at life, heartbreak, indifference, calm and settled, always self-searching). Paradise Valley is the latest, and I listen to it on repeat. Now, because I love it so much, I'm going to go through song by song and pull out three things from every song. BECAUSE I LOVE it.

1. Wildfire.
Might be my favorite song on the album. I read that John Mayer, speaking of this album, recounted that he was listening to a Jack Johnson album and he noted that it just felt good. So he decided to not worry so much about every word and every note and just make an album that feels good. You feel it in this song. It reminds me of Josh Turner's All Over Me- just oozing a laid-back summer. There is something magical about late, warm nights with your honey.

Best line: "A little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about"

Really, is this a country song or what.

2. Marie.
Filled with wonder and tinges of regret. And the stalking of old loves, not because you still love them, but because you just want to know how they turned out. I sometimes look up old boyfriends and I don't think it's weird. Just because John and Marie ended up in different places, doesn't mean he can't care where she ended up and he can't wonder if she'd be proud of him.

Best line: "From time to time I go looking for your photograph online, but some kind of judge in Ohio's all I ever find"

Shout out for the last 30 seconds of 'oh oh oh oh' that doesn't change tune from the same four notes over and over but somehow doesn't get boring BECAUSE THE GUITAR BEHIND IT IS SO GOOD. Way to make it interesting, John.

3. Waiting on the day.
You can hear that John Mayer is growing up enough that he can picture the long term idea of someone being there. He wants to believe it's possible for someone to be there all the way. No more "faking love for an hour or so"

Best line: "I'm waiting on the day when these words are in stone, when the kids are all grown, and we go dancin"

There is something terrifying and exciting about hoping for a forever kind of love, or hoping that the love you have is the forever kind. Waiting is excruciating and exciting and totally worth it.

4. Paperdoll
I'm secretly in love with Taylor Swift and John Mayer and whatever drama sparked the retaliation song-writing feud they are in (she slammed him for making her cry in 'Dear John'. In Paperdoll, he  basically calls her out as a lost, spoiled baby.) So passive aggressive, and likely petty, but don't you kind of wish you could get into a song-writing feud with someone?

Best line: I don't actually love the words or the music, just the alleged stab at Taylor Swift. Taylor's Dear John was one of her worst songs too. Doesn't make it any less juicy.

Is it just me or is this song reminiscent of the under water level on Super Mario?

5. They Call Me the Breeze
This is my kind of guitar solo. Reminds me of my Guitar Hero Stevie Ray Vaughn Days, back when I was addicted to the game and I thought it made me both talented and well-rounded.

Best line: guitar solo

Please, Guitar Hero/Rock Band, please make this into a game song.

6. You Love Who You Love
The commitment-phobe's confession, and a bit of self-defense by way of Katy Perry, who I'm hoping it works out with, even though their voices don't actually blend very well (not like his and Taylor's, if it must be said). She seems a lot more normal and grounded around the overtly and excessively soulful John Mayer, which I feel good about. I also totally get that sometimes people you love aren't any great picture, they're just who you love and you gotta stop over thinking and just follow your heart.

Best line, from Katy Perry: "Some have said his heart's too hard to hold. And it takes a little time, but you should see him when he shines, cuz you never want to let that feeling go."

The video is ridiculous, but actually kind of great. KP's laugh at the end of the song almost ruins the song. Laughing in songs is almost never a good idea.

7. I Will Be Found
No one else can call themselves a birdie and get away with not sounding like an idiot. I like this song for the pure determination of it. "I will be found" sounds like a mantra. Like, he knows he's not so great at being a grown-up, but he's moving forward, head down and self-aware.

Best line: "Maybe it's a long-played game, but that's a good thing."

Life lesson from the heart of Montana. I bet he stole the line from some sage neighbor who, though missing a leg from the war and rebuilding broken relationships with his kids and an alcohol addiction, has taken Mr. Mayer under his wing and reminded him of the heart of life.

8. Wild Fire (the not-John-Mayer version)
I don't really get why this is on the album. I guess, John Mayer produced it, so it counts as his, but it seems like it should at least be a duet or something. I don't hate it (except the weird suicide at the Eiffel Tower reference), but I don't really think it fits. Whatevs.

9. You're No One Til Someone Lets You Down
Back to country and twang. The kind of heartbreak cowboys sing about.

Best line: "Yes, I've been told that some people grow old without losing part of their soul, but if that is true I don't wish it on you, there's so much to adore with a heart that is blue."

Tis better to have loved and lost, sure because of the love, but also because of the loss.

10. Badge and Gun
Can we just call this a boy song? Man song? A lone wolf, out on the prairie, living his life with honor and grit.

Best line: "Give me those jet-black, kick back, lay down nights alone"

Who doesn't love a storm-chasing cowboy loner?

11. On The Way Home
What a great album caboose! Reflective, wise, personal, bluesy, great guitar, simple harmony, meaningful lyrics, everything a good John Mayer song (and album) is.

"You'll go back to love that's waiting, I'll unpack in a rented room. How's that life you swear you're hating? Grass is greener, that makes two.

Just remember on the way home, you were never meant to feel alone"

See ya next round, John. I'll be waiting.

No comments: