Paradise Valley - John Mayer

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. While the album doesn’t have the dynamic genre-hopping sensibility that made both Continuum and Born and Raised instant classics, it’s still a solid set of songs that follows one of today’s best songwriters as he establishes a new comfort zone.
  2. Aug 21, 2013
    The level of growth on Paradise Valley with respect to Mayer’s ability as a singer/songwriter is remarkable, especially considering how the first go-round of this sonic experiment happened only last year.
  3. Aug 19, 2013
    Ultimately, whether it's Tubb's honky tonk twang, or the twang of Mayer's own heart, the sound of Paradise Valley rings true.
  4. Aug 23, 2013
    Eleven songs that hit the mark where last year’s overwrought "Born and Raised" mostly missed, Paradise Valley is a more lyrically restrained and less generically reflective affair. And musically, it’s bigger, more accomplished and more approachable.
  5. Aug 20, 2013
    Mayer can get in trouble when he pushes too hard for effect, so the laid-back vibe here works to his advantage, allowing both his talent and his charm to shine.
  6. Aug 19, 2013
    The tender vocals contributed to Wildfire by surprise guest Frank Ocean are easily the most striking 85 seconds on the record. But the biggest talking point here will be Paper Doll. Apparently aimed at another ex, Taylor Swift, it's a washed-out ballad that takes the concept of "too much information" to a new level
  7. Aug 20, 2013
    These new songs are so amiable that you wonder where they’re meant to take you. Often the breezy journey--while pleasant enough--leads to dead ends.
  8. 50
    Give Mayer credit for keeping his languid country pop organic and as rootsy as someone with his honeyed voice can sound. Yet that only reveals the mediocre quality of the bulk of this material and is no excuse for his sleepwalking performance of it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Aug 20, 2013
    While people dismiss John Mayer's new album, "Paradise Valley" is surprising me in great ways. Mayer made an album that isn't written to be a hit. It's written for the sake of art. He wrote songs that move him and groove in the purest musical sense. Before you read the iTunes reviews choked with "Go back to Continuum!" and the like, listen to it. It's not the catchiest tune, the most beautiful melody, or the fastest guitar solo that John has written. It puts his life and current worldview into music. Frankly, I'm starting to really like it. The music isn't fast or covered in an impressive zebra-print sheen. It's honest, organic, and wonderful music. Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2013
    With his previous album “Born and Raised” he moved into a completely different direction that he had never been before. He became to me a country/folk singer, which at first I disliked, but then it grew on me, and I found myself beginning to really like his new style. However “Born and Raised” is my least favorite John Mayer CD. But with “Paradise Valley” he stayed in the same direction and he improved his new style. I would say that this is the best album since “Continuum.” The album isn’t that different from his last one, but it is just a more improved version of “Born and Raised,” which was also a good album. This album is just better.

    What made the album better for me was that it was a little bit happier then the other “Born and raised.” “Born and Raised” had some happy songs, but a few at the same time that I found to be kind of sad or a little too slow. This album for the most part I find to be pretty uplifting, and even the slower ones are still happy. This is just a more cheerful CD to me at least. But at the same time it still has the same feel as the previous one. It has a few Bob Dylan like songs, and a few blue grass, country, and blues songs. Like all of his albums every song on the album is unique in some way.

    The first song released was “Paper Doll,” which is a very good and relaxing song. It is more of a bluesy song, and less country then his other ones. It has interesting lyrics, and steady simple beat, which makes it a very easy to listen too song. The next single that was realeased was “Wildfire,” which is a good but poppy blues song. A good song, but not one of the strongest ones off of the record.

    The best song off of the CD in my opinion is “I will be found (Lost at Sea).” It is a very pretty ballad that strays away from the albums more country/blues style. Mayer is usually very focused on his guitar, and he rarely ever does ballads, but it is songs like this one that show that Mayer should write more ballads. I would say that this is one of his best songs now.

    The second best song off of this CD is “On The Way Home.” It is a country song that is a very good song to listen to while you are driving, because of it’s uplifting mood, and a melody that is very easy to sing a long to. This is the type of song that if played in concert everybody would probably sing along too. Like all the other songs off of the CD it is also very relaxing, and easy to listen too, that is also catchy at the same time. I say that this is one of John Mayer’s best country songs for sure.

    There are certain songs on this album like “Dear Marie” that aren’t great, but they are still good. “Dear Marie” is like the “Stop This Train,” or the “Speak For Me” of this CD, except it picks up more at the end. “Waiting On The Day” is a relaxing song, but it isn’t great. It is extremely simple, and I would just say it is okay. Not one of his best, but not his worst. “Who You Love” is a bit repetitive at times. I felt like doing it with Katy Perry was unnecessary. I mostly feel that way because I hate Katy Perry. But still the song was good. It just wasn’t the best. The rest of the songs are all good, but those are the ones that I felt like I had things to say about.

    It was a very good album, with many good songs. It had a unique country style, which not may country singers can do. It was easy to listen to, but happy at the same time. One of John’s best for sure.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 17, 2013
    Very competent album, shows his guitar-side better than other titles but still one step behind Joe Bonamassa. Mayer still a "singer" instead of a "guitar player" and some choices here might appeal better to radios, but grown old fast. Full Review »