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Best of the Rest: John Mayer

Oh, quit it.

Just stop.

I know you want to throw your Slurpee at your screen right now, but just give it a sec.

First off, that Slurpee was hard won. You had to find a mask, put it on and walk yourself down to the 7-11. Then you waited dutifully outside said 7-11 until a few folks left with their potato chips.

Then the walk back home followed, etc… So hang on to that big red cup. Did you mix the cherry and blueberry flavors, by the way?

Secondly, it’s a new year. More than any other year in recent history, it’s a time for reflection people.

I’d like to support you in a “don’t be a dick” resolution.

And why not start with here?Let’s practice being less dickish together.

But John Mayer?! Best of the REST? What in the actual fuck, dude?!

Fear not fellow Replacements -loving, Social D-spinning punkers, my aim here is not to extol the general virtues of Mayer. If this fella annoys you, I totally get it.

Mayer is most definitely an amalgamation of many things. He is a tough sell on many fronts. His general douche-levels are incredibly high. He’s made it rough for fans, as his often questionable and un-defendable rockstar entitlements have reared up regularly throughout his tenure as a “rockstar” guy. I could happily go on and on servicing all the hateable annoying aspects of him, but I’m stopping myself.

Remember: Don’t be a dick.

Instead, let’s reverse-dick this thing and talk about John Mayer the musician, shall we? Cause make no mistake, the guy is a bonafide monster of a guitar player. I mean, he’s incredible by any measure one chooses to apply. A master of the instrument.

Clapton agrees, by the way:

And whatever Clapton says GOES, folks. Although it’s likely that John does in fact know how good he is, EC.


In all seriousness, it’s his unique gift as a player that has continued to pique my interest over the years. I know that his guitar prowess alone might not be enough to bring you around on the guy, but have you even heard the John Mayer Trio record he did with Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino? That fucking thing is breathtaking. (Also if for some reason you don’t recognize those two names listed above, then you have bigger issues than hating on JM).

That said, overall JM’s recording discography reads a bit like Brad Pitt’s movie career. Just about every movie Brad’s ever done has been at least decent. There’s nary a stinker in sight. To be fair, Meet Joe Black was actually pretty awful, but so was John Mayer’s Paradise Valley – so there you go.

Once you get past some of his Grammy winning, soft rock radio hits, John Mayer records are actually filled with innovative tracks with loads of great playing to boot. His albums are always impeccably made, often featuring literally the creamiest of the crop of musicians. We’ve already discussed Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, haven’t we troops?

In true “Best of the Rest” form, I’ve scraped his records for 10 of my favorite non-hits and included the playlist for your review.

We can do this together, you don’t have to continue being such a dick. When did we start having to like and respect our rockers, by the way? Is Keith Rickards a “good” guy? I certainly hope not–that would ruin everything.

You don’t have to like the guy, but if you’re letting his persona keep you away from his tunes, you’re just hurting yourself…and me. So stop it.

Look no further than Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 (Born and Raised, 2012). It’s a remarkable track on all levels and will work against every assumption you’re probably making about Mayer and his music. A true stunner. Stone cold stunner!

Actually, while you’re at it, just go ahead and spin the entirety of Born and Raised. Crazy good album.

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