Battle Studies (Sony)
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.
His latest mundane disc lacks edge despite sometimes aiming for U2 (War Of My Life). He keeps things simple on Who Says, and channels a softer Ryan Adams, but this softness goes all doughy on Perfectly Lonely. Add in the over-processed soullessness of his Robert Johnson Crossroads cover and whatever soul was there evaporates.
Half Of My Heart, Mayer’s duet with Taylor Swift, is the highlight. It’s also the most honestly titled track on an album that’s fundamentally half-hearted.
Top track: Half Of My Heart