Battle Studies

Album Review of Battle Studies by John Mayer.

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Battle Studies

John Mayer

Battle Studies by John Mayer

Release Date: Nov 17, 2009
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): Rock, Pop

54 Music Critic Score
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Battle Studies - Average, Based on 7 Critics

AllMusic - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

It's no secret that John Mayer is a 21st Century Fox, wining and dining women all through the tabloid headlines, so it's about time he delivered an album that traded upon his loverman persona -- and Battle Studies is that record in spades. Retaining more than a modicum of the slick soul-blues undertones of Continuum, Mayer fashions a modern groove album, a record that maintains a smooth seductive vibe so thoroughly it spills into a weird one-man band cover of "Crossroads," turning Clapton's contained Cream masterwork into something about vibe, not virtuosity. Mayer remains a disciple of Slowhand, but he shows an unusual interest in the big AOR stylings of Journeyman, along with Stevie Ray Vaughan's In Step, creating a coolly clean blend of synths and Strats, one that's as much about texture as it is song -- something perfectly appropriate for a make-out album like this.

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Entertainment Weekly - 65
Based on rating B-
65

The John Mayer mirror has, as it were, two faces: the faultlessly earnest, furrow-browed blues-pop crooner of record, and the starlet-?devouring, Twitter-baiting jokester who would, one imagines, love nothing more than to give guys like Earnest John a big fat wedgie. In a way, it’s too bad that he doesn’t. Battle Studies is, for the most part, status quo Mayeromics — an expertly calibrated study in soft-pedal confessions, searching lyricism, and mildly groovy guitar licks.

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Paste Magazine - 63
Based on rating 6.3/10
63

Mayer’s eclectic musicianship almost makes up for pensive poetry Battle Studies marks the fourth release for John Mayer, who enters an arena of high-riding hopes after the soul-spilling Contiuum that graduated him to the lofty ranks of someone who could shred a six-string alongside B.B. King or Eric Clapton. Mayer’s albums were maturing one after the other, combining electric blues and clever songwriting, but he takes a few steps back with the lovelorn Battle Studies, a superficial meditation on the jagged down-slope of a relationship—the romantic blitzkrieg that recalls, among other genres, his early acoustic sound on Room for Squares.

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PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

As a self-professed John Mayer fan who’s followed the man’s career throughout the many swerving, twisting paths it’s taken, I’ve come to place quite a bit of emotional investment in Battle Studies, his long-anticipated follow-up to his creative break-through, Continuum. On too many an occasion have I found myself in the position of defending John Mayer’s artistic credibility amongst a pit of rabid anti-Mayer acolytes who cannot see past their burning hatred for the admitted fluff of “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and its ilk. True, Mayer got his start—as have many talented, flourishing musicians—crafting light-weight pop, but it only proved to be a building block, a stepping stone, before slowly bridging his way into more adventurous territory.

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NOW Magazine - 40
Based on rating 2/5
40

The John Mayer we know from pop culture is fascinating and entertaining. He's done stand-up, written for Esquire and is a Twitter king. But his personality - the one that apparently makes some women melty inside - shows through better in his 140-character tweets than in his music. [rssbreak] His latest mundane disc lacks edge despite sometimes aiming for U2 (War Of My Life).

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The Guardian - 40
Based on rating 2/5
40

His name might not register much over here, but John Mayer is a real, live big deal in the States. This Grammy-winning, Jennifer Aniston-dating, sneaker-designing (no, really) AOR pin-up has sold 13m fearlessly commercial albums, veering stylistically between glossy modern blues and, well, glossy modern pop; here his intent is to channel the sunny, clear (and resurgently fashionable) radio-friendly sounds of Fleetwood Mac or Tom Petty. But Battle Studies's immaculate musical sheen is so pathologically tasteful, so desperately non-threatening, that it ends up sounding more like a Ronan Keating solo album.

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No Ripcord - 40
Based on rating 4/10
40

I’m not going to sit here and say I always knew John Mayer was a great blues guitarist. But at the very least, once I discovered this fact, I kept waiting for the day his blazing skills would transfer over into an incendiary, old-school blues studio album. First there was the live album, Try!, released in 2005. With searing covers of Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles and lick-heavy reinterpretations of Mayer originals, it looked like the Bridgeport-based media magnet was finally ready to unleash his Slowhand.

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