I Still Feel Like You’re Mad and Other Thoughts on John Mayer’s Newest Release: The Search for Everything

I still feel like John Mayer is mad, or at least to some degree–bitter over circumstances.

The Search for Everything feels unfinished in a beautiful, moving way. It contains a plethora of unfinished stories, briefly touched upon with small nods and assumptions. The album is full of unnamed characters, which make a hasty entrance and then promptly leave.

No it’s never on the day you leave
You can tell how it’s gonna be
To watch a girl become a ghost before your eyes
You wish you’d given her one more kiss
To put away for a night like this
But never, never on the day you leave
.”

– from “Never On the Day You Leave”

The words are vulnerable, in typical Mayer fashion. Yet, for every long expected cataclysmic, self-destructed love story, this isn’t another reprise of Continuum.

“This is the first time in my life as a singer that I’m in a state of emotion, not just intellectualizing how to sing a song,” Mayer expressed in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Every time I hear it, it’s like getting to meet myself in the same room and take a walk around myself, like, ‘I guess that’s what I look like from that angle.”

As a songwriter, I often find my own music taking on a life of its own. The lyrics are more or less a story, but also a mirror—a reflection that I didn’t expect, revealing more of myself than I could presuppose.

Mayer’s transparent interview with Rolling Stone is what drew me to the record, aside from the over-saturation of “Still Feel Like Your Man” on the radio.

Also, the first time I listened the single I immediately twisted the words into a passive aggressive, vengeful anthem:

“I still feel like you’re mad.”

This proceeded for two weeks.

Front to back, this album is a collection of Jon Mayer short-stories: “Still Feel Like Your Man” kicks it off with a lingering love for a past relationship, and continues through a wave of emotions with “Emoji of a Wave” (no pun intended) and “Helpless”.

“Love on the Weekend” captures the essence of a summer fling with an atypical windows-down vibe, and then the album takes an abrupt inward, reflective turn with “In the Blood” and “Changing.”

You might have a tendency to skip over those four songs in the middle chunk of the record. “In the Blood” and “Changing” could be bonus tracks on Mayer’s previous release, Paradise Valley. But the lyrics hold up:

Will I let this woman kill me,
or do away with jealous love?
Will it wash out in the water,
Or is it always in the blood?

– from “In the Blood”

The time is worth the wait once you arrive to track nine, “Never on the Day You Leave”, my personal favorite. “Never on the Day You Leave” is the Jon Mayer ballad I had been eagerly anticipating–a haunting, lyrical masterpiece.

No it’s never on the day you leave
That you wonder what you still believe in
And you can’t remember why you said goodbye
You’ll hear an old familiar sound and hope its her when you turn around
But never, never on the day you leave.

– from, “Never on the Day You Leave”

Ugh.

The record caps off with a catchy little tune about “Rosie”. Mayer finally brings out the big guns: two melodic, insatiable, genius guitar solos. Complete with a brass section and a quintessential grove, “Rosie” is addicting.

“Roll It On Home” and “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” finish off the record with some closing statements:

And when the pastor asks the pews
For reasons he can’t marry you
I’ll keep my word in my seat
.”

– from, “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me”

From start to finish, this record will captivate you. One small glimpse into a writer’s universe, and it can reveal some hopeful, beautiful truths about human nature.

Oh, and did I mention Cheryl Crow is the voice behind those intricate, simple harmonies throughout?

The Search for Everything is full of small surprises around every corner.

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