Mayer lays bare his heart

Mayer lays bare his heart

American singer-songwriter John Mayer's fourth studio album, Battle Studies, went to No 1 on the US Billboard 200 and sold more than 280,000 copies in the first week of its release.

The lead single and opening track, Heartbreak Warfare, sets the scene perfectly for the soul-searching found throughout the album. Its engrossing, powerful lyrics reveal Mayer's pain and his intention to let the girl in question know about it: "Drop his name, push it in and twist the knife again/ Watch my face as I pretend to feel no pain."

Half of My Heart, a duet with Taylor Swift, serves up a catchy guitar riff and lively beat as Mayer tells how part of his heart "has a grip on the situation" while "half of my heart takes time".

Assassin begins with a distinct Latin flavour and showcases Mayer's solid vocal style as he tells the story of an assassin (seemingly his term for a heartbreaker) who meets a girl who leaves him stunned: "Little did I know that girl was an assassin too."

Mayer is brave on this album, laying bare his heart; and this honesty makes the songs all the more accessible and appealing.

His breathy, guitar-driven singing brings to mind the similarly-styled Jason Mraz. Yet Mayer has a freshness and light-hearted touch that is all his own - and which never fails to inspire.

YP rating: 4/5

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