It's difficult to review the music John Mayer creates as a separate thing from his reputation as an incorrigible douchebag. Take, for example, the quote I found to help illustrate his artistic intentions with Born and Raised:
"Life is like a box of crayons," he says. "Most people are the 8-color boxes, but what you're really looking for are the 64-color boxes with the sharpeners on the back. I fancy myself to be a 64-color box, though I've got a few missing. It's ok though, because I've got some more vibrant colors like periwinkle at my disposal."
It's hard to get any douchier than that, but Mayer somehow manages to. Born and Raised is 90 percent cringe-worthy and 10 percent Silver Lake hipster.
“Looking for the sun that Neil Young hung/after the gold rush of 1971," he sings on the opening track Queen of California. As 60s pastiche, it's not half-bad, but it's pretty much all downhill from there.
If the outright embarrassing Love is a Verb made an appearance on a Bright Eyes or M. Ward record, that'd be the end of them. That Mayer will sell a few million copies of this is an affront to music. Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey is worse.
“You can tell something isn’t right/when all your heroes are in black and white,” he sings on one of the lone highlights, Speak For Me. The song is ostensibly a laid-back anger-fest about the kind of schlocky pop that permeates the airwaves nowadays. The sad fact is that Mayer hasn't yet realized that he just might be part of the problem.