Playing into the generation of the Internet, John Mayer‘s team took to Tumblr in tandem with Mayer’s official website to announce the debut of both his first single and the Born And Raised track list and album artwork. His official Tumblr only features a sixty-second clip of “Shadow Days,” but fans can hear the full song on his main website.
Mayer’s album artwork and even song titles on the album, which is due out May 22nd, hint at a very vivid concept. What’s previously been described as “organic” has finally been paired with the right visuals to complete the pre-concept for Mayer’s fans.
Aside from a few minuscule interviews where the pop vocalist-musician describes new Born And Raised as an “album of cowboy songs on this guitar under the stars”, the general public has only gotten snippets of information in piecemeal. Finally fans can bask in what wondrous visual impact we’ve been graced with in John Mayer’s Southern-inspired new cover art for both “Shadow Days” and Born And Raised. Both are just as organic as Mayer himself spelled them out to be, one with a picturesque outdoor scene complete with a cowboy hat and the other with an illustrated country-style posterization. We’d consider it safe to say that this era of his career is shaping up to be just as supple as the last.
The first ten seconds of Mayer’s new “Shadow Days” reaffirms this idea. A bluesy guitar riff with a pedal steel guitar sound breaks into a slow tempo with soft vocals before splicing into a humbling set of words. It’s a charming, dense and solemn piece of music that meddles within a hushed boundary of a melody. The tune is not loud, but Mayer’s music has never been loud. He has always been bluesy, contemporary and but his tempos have never sped up too fast or been screamed into a microphone. No, this guy is delicate with his music and it stands for his character as well as his dedication to his work.
Here, “Shadow Days” expresses John Mayer’s appreciation for the body of music that preceded him, tributing tones of Americana and classic country at points along the road. He also reminds us that his days of debauchery are in the past, explaining:
I’m a good man, with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
And finally I learned to let it go
He even keeps it interesting near the end when the electric guitar instrumental gets a spotlight atop acoustic guitar and piano rhythms. In the bridge of the song, his guitar solo works in a bit of a twist on the melody that solidifies the more interesting aspect of the song.
We’re hoping that Mayer, who has stunned and impressed us with his work for years, only releases this first single as a tip-of-the-iceberg scenario for what’s to come. “Shadow Days” is wonderfully dynamic but it doesn’t shake the floor beneath us and make us want to sing along. But in the past, tremendous albums like Continuum and Battle Studies brought light first sings like “Who Says”. This is simply John Mayer’s strategy. Because of this, we know that we’ve only gotten a taste of what’s good, and the best is yet to come. See for yourself below: