John Mayer has released one of his most ambitious albums to date, The Search For Everything, featuring 12 songs covering 43 minutes. This is Mayer’s seventh studio album, and his first since 2013’s Paradise Valley.
Mayer shared some insight about The Search For Everything with Rolling Stone:
It’s beyond a break-up record… It’s about my impression of loss. It’s about the ghost in the room. Proudly, it is, as my therapist says, a study into the metaphysics of absent love.
I actually, for the first time in my life, believe I recorded exactly what I was feeling… It was the only time in my life that sadness was like a lucid dream, like, ‘Oh, I’m here. I got no business trying to get out of this, because it won’t work.’ It was like learning to live in the wilderness.
A lot has changed since Mayer’s 2001 debut album, Room for Squares, and its hit song “Your Body Is a Wonderland.” That release garnered John instant pop success at a young age. Sixteen years later, and The Search For Everything displays a musician who has matured in his songwriting and gotten more reflective lyrically.
One of the strong points of this new material is how many styles Mayer draws from. “Moving On and Getting Over” shows a soulful side with smooth guitar playing and heartfelt lyrics. “Changing” — which John calls “the spiritual centerpiece of the album” — focuses on tender piano playing and honest lyrics like, “I am not done changing / out on the run changing / I may be old and I may be young / but I am not done changing.”
Mayer shared some insight about his songwriting with NPR:
I think I’ve always done a very good job of converting personal information into universal songwriting. And like I’ve said before, if I do a good enough job of writing the song, people aren’t going to be distracted the whole time the song is playing. Ultimately, you want people to not care about anything that led to the song. You want them to care they’ve got it, you want them to care that they’ve got something to jam to or relate to.
“Love on the Weekend” sparkles with pop appeal, and “Still Feel Like Your Man” is a smooth R&B tune with playful lyrics. “Emoji of a Wave” is a folky acoustic ballad with lush harmonies, and “Helpless” sees Mayer wailing on funky electric blues (he is joined by Pino Palladino on bass and Steve Jordan on drums for this track).
“Roll it on Home” is a bit of warm, laid back classic Americana, and the piano ballad “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” closes out the album with perhaps one of the most honest and soul-baring songs of Mayer’s career.
Pick up The Search for Everything on Amazon. You can also stream the full album for free above, via Spotify.
John is currently on a North American tour in support of the album. For more, check out the John Mayer Zumic artist page.