John Mayer has a seventh studio album coming out, sort of. The Search For Everything – Wave One EP is the first instalment containing four songs with Mayer explaining the concept, “The price of admission is four songs....If you don’t like these, don’t get the next four. But if I’ve engendered some kind of trust that you think I’m onto something, get the next four, and come along with me on every single wave.”
The EP opens up with “Moving On and Getting Over” and it gets the first wave off to a strong start. Doubled vocals create rich harmonies throughout, whereas the verses contain a hook that sees the instruments and vocals syncopate in a stop-start rhythm that accentuates every word. It’s a nice little pop gem, inspired by a breakup that shows off Mayer’s soulful side. The song is pretty straightforward instrumentally and benefits from this, relying instead on good song writing. The bass runs really stand out.
“Changing” starts off with solo piano and vocals, before it opens up with an acoustic guitar and then the full band. Mayer has referred to this particular song as “the spiritual centrepiece of the album” and it is a tender, poignant song but possibly the weakest track of the four. That is, however, not to say that it’s bad by any means. The song soars when Mayer unleashes a gorgeous, Blues solo halfway through reminding us of his outstanding guitar playing abilities.
The third song on this EP is the lead single, “Love On The Weekend,” an ode to the start of a new relationship. It sparkles with classic Mayer pop sensibilities and the heavy reverb drenched guitars conjure up images of crashing waves and long drives along a sunny coastline. Another fantastic pop-rocker.
“You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” has a Randy Newman feel to it, and melodically sounds like it has come straight from a Pixar movie. Opening once again with piano and Mayer whistling before his soothing singing begins. His overall tone here enhances the sweetness of the song and complements the softness of the piano very nicely. This cute song also contains a little lyrical edge “And when the pastor asks the pews for reasons he can’t marry you, I’ll keep my word in my seat.” which gives it a bit of sharpness.
I can’t leave this review without touching on the musicians that make up this record. Bringing back “the team” that worked on 2006’s Continuum album, there is stellar musicianship happening here. The rhythm section comprises of Steve Jordan (drums) and session legend, Pino Palladino (bass) and they provide an absolute rock solid foundation for Mayer to springboard off from.
Overall I feel that Wave One is a solid listen and certainly hypes me up for Wave Two. Some people may be put off by the slower tempo of the songs and “Changing” and “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” may have stood out further if they were placed amongst quicker, rockier songs. But, that said, we have four songs here that showcase John Mayer’s song writing and lyrical genius.
Personally, I’m hoping that Wave Two will have a bit more flashy guitar playing but that’s not to take anything away from the songs that make up this first instalment. It seems Mayer wants to be seen more as a writer than a guitarist here and for me, it's a job well done!