Battle Studies John Mayer (CD)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am

American singer-songwriter John Mayer's fourth studio album, Battle Studies, went to number one on the US Billboard 200 and sold more than 280,000 copies during the first week of its release.

The lead single - and opening track - Heartbreak Warfare, sets the scene perfectly for soul searching. Its engrossing, powerful lyrics hit the target. Mayer's in pain, not happy about it, and intent on letting the girl know too ... 'Drop his name/ Push it in and twist the knife again/ Watch my face/ As I pretend to feel no pain'. Many of us have felt this pain.

Half of My Heart - a duet with Taylor Swift - serves up catchy guitar riffs and a lively beat as he reflects on love once again and urges us to stop what we are doing and listen to how a part of his heart 'has a grip of the situation'.

Assassin, which begins with a distinct Latino flavour, showcases Mayer's solid vocal style as he tells the story of a man that was an assassin, who fell in love (yes, love - again) only to be left stunned. 'Little did I know that girl was an assassin too'.

Mayer is brave on this album - laying bare his heart and at times very real suffering. Yet this honesty makes the songs all the more accessible and appealing; we can feel his pain.

His breathy, guitar-driven singing brings to mind the similarly-styled American Jason Mraz. Yet he has a freshness and light-hearted touch that is all his own - and never fails to inspire.