John Mayer is one of the more notable names to emerge in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In spite of some controversies, his career has continued to the present time, as shown by the release of his eighth studio album Sob Rock in 2021. Besides his solo career, Mayer has been known to play in bands as well.
8. Sob Rock
As mentioned earlier, Sob Rock came out in 2021. Due to this, it should come as no surprise to learn that it was influenced by the COVID-19 crisis that dominated 2020. To be exact, Mayer mentioned that most of the songs came from after March of 2020, which was when a lot of artists had to stop touring. Besides those, a number of earlier singles were included on the album even though they were never meant to be made available in this manner. In any case, Sob Rock is neither particularly bad nor particularly good. However, it is possible that this evaluation will change once the passage of time makes it easier to possess some perspective on the matter.
7. Battle Studies
Battle Studies is the fourth studio album. As such, it was released after Continuum, which was so successful that it was bound to cast a heavy shadow upon whatever followed. In fact, Mayer has mentioned that he was outright intimidated about making another album, though he eventually did so within a relatively short period of time because of his dislike for letting too much time pass without making new music. Eventually, Mayer just decided to make the album without being too concerned about what had come before. Something that irked some of the listeners who had other expectations. On the whole, Battle Studies had incredible breadth. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the depth needed to match that breadth.
6. Born and Raised
Speaking of which, Battle Studies was followed by Born and Raised, which didn’t have the smoothest path to release. Primarily, this was because of the granulomas found in Mayer’s throat, which were treatable but nonetheless cost him a few months. Like Battle Studies, Born and Raised also showed incredible breadth, so much so that it is a contender for Mayer’s single most diverse album.
5. Heavier Things
Meanwhile, Heavier Things was Mayer’s second studio album, meaning that it had the important responsibility of cementing the reputation that he had managed to build up through his first studio album. On the whole, it succeeded. The album sold quite well, particularly in the United States where it went triple-platinum. Moreover, it earned Mayer some serious awards, with an excellent example being the Grammy for the Song of the Year. Something that he claimed by beating both Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Having said that, there were those who were unimpressed by Mayer’s songwriting for the album, though to be fair, that wouldn’t be the last time for that complaint to come up.
4. The Search for Everything
The Search for Everything came out in 2017, thus making it Mayer’s seventh studio album. Technically, it is a concept album concerned with the emotions as well as the thoughts involved in a breakup. As such, the whole thing opens with the initial breakup before progressing through a series of steps that culminate in a marriage. In spite of this, The Search for Everything is also one of the most personal albums that Mayer has ever released. There are some people who didn’t like this kind of thing, but the same time, there are those who believe that it provided the album with extra power. It is also worth mentioning that the album had a surprisingly whimsical feel despite its main focus, which once again resulted in a divided audience. Some felt that it served to balance out everything; others found it to be a bit jarring in nature.
3. Room for Squares
Mayer is known to have been interested in pursuing a music career when he was still relatively young. After all, he had to be talked out of skipping college for that precise purpose. Even then, Mayer went to the Berklee College of Music, which is, well, exactly what it sounds like. As such, there was quite some time before he got his start, though when things started moving, things started moving very fast. For those who are unfamiliar, he came to the attention of Aware Records in early 2001, thus leading to the release of Room for Squares on the Internet in June of 2001, him being signed by Columbia, and then the re-release of Room for Squares in September of 2001. Mayer’s relative lack of experience shows on this album. Even so, it is excellent, with songs such as “Your Body Is a Wonderland” being particularly popular at the time. In other words, it isn’t a coincidence that things started moving fast when Mayer became known.
2. Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley came out just a short while after Born and Raised. Thanks to this, it is perhaps unsurprising that it would have a lot of similarities with its immediate predecessor. As such, it isn’t exactly what most people would consider to be a huge advancement in terms of music. However, it didn’t need to be one because it happened to be a very good improvement on what had come before. As for the name of Paradise Valley, it refers to the location in the state of Montana where Mayer went to live. Something that also had a fair amount of influence on the content of this album.
This album is Mayer’s third studio album. Based on its position in this list, it should come as no surprise to learn that it did very well. As in, it sold more than 4 million copies in the United States, which isn’t even mentioning its sales in other countries. However, what makes Continuum particularly interesting is that it represented a notable change in Mayer’s music. Before it, he was very pop rock. With Continuum, he incorporated blues and soul. Moreover, he did it very well, thus making for an album to remember.