John Mayer's desire to be somebody else is certainly understandable. Being John Mayer, with comments that many considered racist and his talk of "sexual napalm," hasn't worked out recently. "Born and Raised" (Columbia), with its '70s California, "Peaceful Easy Feeling" vibe, sounds little like Mayer's previous work, but, unfortunately, playing down guitar work and playing up his limited vocals and lyrics -- where he sometimes tries to defend himself as misunderstood, as he does in the single "Shadow Days" -- is a bad idea. The best song here is "Queen of California," but that's only because it combines bits of Billy Joel's "Keeping the Faith" with Neil Young circa "After the Gold Rush" and some Wilco.
"Born and Raised"
BOTTOM LINE Searching for a new identity, finding '70s rock
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