Born and Raised - John Mayer
Born and Raised Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth studio album from the singer-songwriter was produced by Don Was and was delayed from its original release date by Mayer's throat granulomas.
  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. As a whole, Born and Raised is contrite, earnest and warm.
  2. May 22, 2012
    It's one of Mayer's most diverse and exploratory albums yet, trying on a variety of different styles to accompany a set of particularly reflective and soul-searching tunes.
  3. May 22, 2012
    As usual, his playing is restrained and elegant; he's a singer-songwriter with a session man's soul, so every breezy solo or sun-dappled acoustic spindle is comfy and luxe like a spun-silk blanket.
  4. May 21, 2012
    Those two sounds [folk and country] are the best vehicles for the kind of solipsism Mayer engages in on Born and Raised, where he does his best to sound sorrowful and contrite yet manages to stumble upon his own deep-seated desire to remain a lover-man.
  5. May 24, 2012
    It's an honest, and oftentimes compelling, statement on his road to redemption.
  6. May 21, 2012
    Maybe Mr. Mayer didn't really set out to make his version of a Ryan Adams album, but it suits him at this moment.
  7. 40
    It's all very laidback and earnest, but the endless lo-cal homilies ultimately grate.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. May 23, 2012
    9.9 actually. I sometimes miss his blues edge throughout the album. But almost always it is earnest, brilliant, and beautiful music. Thank you, John.
  2. May 22, 2012
    A perfect summer road-trip album. 70's folk and Americana for the modern age. After the success of Continuum, John wanted to shred the sumptuous bluesy pop ambience and write a country record. The plans had to take the back burner for a while as John decided to write something else instead for his next studio release. 2009â Expand
  3. May 29, 2012
    "Born and Raised" is easily Mayer's best studio work since "Continuum." His previous offering, "Battle Studies," is gaining much criticism in the wake of this new release, but it's clear that "Studies" was a transitional piece, both musically and personally, for Mr. Mayer. While I still argue that "Continuum" is the artist's best work to date, but Born and Raised is a necessary step in Mayer's maturation process, as musician and man. That said, it's a near-perfect album, the one fans have been wanting since "Continuum." The guitar work is less complex, the vocals are emphasized, and there isn't as much layering of instruments as on prior efforts. This is a stripped-down Mayer, and his vulnerable voice sounds even more wounded than normal, likely the result of his pre-surgery recordings. The title track and "Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967" are career highlights for Mayer, who proves yet again that he is at the forefront of his generation's singer-songwriters Expand
  4. Dec 16, 2012
    One of the best albums in the year 2012. His songwriting gets better and better and the tunes are so calmative and chilling. Not every song is perfect but you can listen to the whole thing and won't be bored once. I especially love 'Queen Of California', 'Shadow Days', 'Speak For Me' and 'Born And Raised' but I was into every single second of this album, regardless. I haven't heard all of his previous albums so I can't really say if it actually is his best CD, but it's a very good one and one of the 10 best releases this year. Expand
  5. Aug 29, 2013
    This is a completely new type of record for John Mayer. It is not even close to being like his other records. His other records had a very original sound that he made, and he changed to blue grass and country for this record. Not only is the music different, but also his lyrics aren’t like the ones he wrote on songs like “Bigger Then My Body,” or “Heartbreak Warfare.” His lyrics for this album are more country like to, but at the same time not too far from his old style of lyrics writing. He usually extends his range a little bit with each album, but with this one he did it dramatically. Another thing I notice is a change in his voice. His voice sounds slightly deeper, and not as whispery as it used to sound. It added to his new style. But I have to say that he makes his new style work. It is one that will grow on you if you don’t like it at first. That is what happened with me. It is not a perfect album, because it has a few bad ones, but not many.

    A track I would say to skip is “Age Of Worry.” It is a weird song, and it just isn’t that appealing if you ask me. Another one to skip is “Speak For Me.” It is a very average and kind of boring song. The last song I would say to skip is “Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967.” It is another one that seems a little weird. “Shadow Days” is a good song that I found it dropped off for me after I discovered some better ones off of the album. It is good, but not great. It felt a little poppy, but I would still listen too it.

    The first track off of the CD is “Queen Of California,” which is a completely different kind of song for him. That is one that doesn’t match his old style of songwriting in any way. But it is still a very good song, with a good beat, with lyrics that are interesting, but hard to figure out. The next song I would like to praise is “Something Like Olivia,” which is a good blues song. I would say that it might be his bluesiest song, because of the music, and lyrics. It just had a style of a really old blue song. But I like that. It is a happy song though, which makes it good. There aren’t many happy ones on this album.

    The title track “Born & Raised” is also a great song with a bob Dylan type feel to it. I find its lyrics to be interesting, but hard to figure out. It is soothing like all of the other songs on this album. However in my opinion the best song is “A Face To Call Home.” It is a very happy song, with a good melody, and a great pick up at the end. I feel like it is the one that stands out the most on the cd, due to the way it picks up at the end. It is just a very enjoyable, and happy song to listen too. His new style is working for him, but I still see room for him to improve it. It is well done, and well written.
  6. May 31, 2012
    John Mayer in his typical way for latest album posted a folk-rock compositions, which try to fit the commercial standards. Not as of today we know that Mayer is best in live performance, where ihe can always improvise with guitar parts. It should be added that, despite the presence of both rock and blues inserts ("Something Like Olivia"), the album is still quite folk, subdued proposal with the common elements of the country ("Born And Raised"). For fans of the artist, such a departure from rock may seem a misunderstanding. Expand
  7. Jun 1, 2012
    Okay guys - I admit I'm writing this review after a single listen, but I can say quite honestly already that I'm glad I did not buy this album. There was some good stuff: "Queen of California" has a nice throw-the-chorus-on-the-end-of-the-verse structure; "Love is a Verb" is a sweet little song; "...Submarine Test..." has a cool enough melody that the words don't even really matter; and the first verse of "Fool to Love You" had me yelling "Yeah man!" alone in my room. And the guitar work, as always, was some of the best you'll hear all year - particularly the acoustic playing, which is precise and intentional. But Christ, was there bad stuff. I didn't count how many times Mayer rhymed "start" with "heart" in total, but I know it was included in at least two choruses. Taking into account what I already said about his guitar playing, I was hoping he'd play a solo on more than two songs. Instead what we get is a bunch of harmonica that recalls neither Springsteen's hooks nor Young's earnestness nor Dylan's playfulness. Born and Raised also features only one, count 'em, one tune that reflects his supposedly massive blues influence. The modern soul of Continuum (Mayer's only work at this point with a chance at being a classic) is out the window. Even Battle Studies, despite its lack of replay value, had cool pop tunes like "Perfectly Lonely," and rhymed "mattress" with "axis." Born and Raised mainly consists of corny confessionals in which Mayer tries to convince his audience he's not an **** John, the best way to make people forget what an **** you've been is to put out a great album - look at Kanye West. Singing about what a "good heart" you have, and what "rough start" you've had, is like a high school geek whining about his virginity while wearing taped-up glasses and jeans held up to his belly button by suspenders he's worn every day since second grade. The worst part is that the good stuff doesn't last long enough. "Born and Raised (Reprise)" has the cool honky-tonk groove Mayer must have been searching for the whole album, and, like I said, "Fool to Love You" is a riot. But neither song stretches out past two minutes and thirty seconds. I've had faith in Mayer ever since I really gave Continuum a listen (or rather, since his stellar live album "Where the Light Is" kept me at my own guitar for about six months - Continuum's subtle brilliance snuck up on me after that), and his show on the Battle Studies tour was great. But Born and Raised is a letdown in almost every way. I understand that artists grow, develop, and change their sound, but that doesn't account for lazy songwriting - and neither does wearing a cowboy hat all over the place. Collapse

See all 12 User Reviews