Review: John Mayer's deeply personal quest on 'The Search for Everything' taps into universal truths
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John Mayer has boldly delivered what may best be described as his most personal album to date as his seventh studio album, The Search for Everything, dropped in its entirety on April 14. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter didn’t have anything to prove with this record, though a lot of critics are dubbing it as his return to pop.

These same critics and his loyal fan following could also argue Mayer never really left. He calmly asserted himself as a raw, undiscovered musical genius in his early grassroots, underground, pop-blues Eddie’s Attic beginnings.

And, his ardent, swelling fan base knew they witnessed something magical in untapped Mayer. He was their secret musical treasure. They happily savored their time with him at intimate shows back then, all the while knowing (and half-dreading) they eventually would have to give him over to the mainstream music scene.

John Mayer was destined to become a global superstar because his virtuosic guitar skills and vivid storytelling prowess dictated it. He was simply too good to stay floating under the radar for too long.

What they didn’t realize then, and maybe even Mayer didn’t realize, is the intimate connections he forged with his grassroots followers would never really die, even when he took bold musical turns or endured his share of bad tabloid press. At its core, a musical connection is a spiritual, heart-to-heart thing. It has nothing to do with John Mayer, the man, who didn’t necessarily have a great time navigating the world of high-profile, celebrity dating.

As he approaches 40, Mayer leaves the Americana vibe of his past two records behind and is looking at life through a much wiser lens. This is obvious in multiple ways in The Search for Everything. There’s also a strong sense he’s coming full circle and injecting his whole heart back into his music, come what may. Mayer is vulnerable and explores a gambit of emotions across these 12 tracks. And, for the first time in a while, he implores us to feel them too.

Mayer reached out to his fans via Twitter the day before the album dropped saying, "And that ends an era. August ‘14-April ’17. I made this record for *you*. May you hear and see and feel yourself in these songs."

The “Why Georgia” singer opens himself up and shares blistering heartache with tracks like “Still Feel Like Your Man” and “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me.” He also dives deep into self-reflection and exposes the fear we all have about “becoming our parents” with “In the Blood.” “Love on the Weekend” is upbeat and bright and “Never on the Day You Leave” looks back at lost love with sad regret. He also serves up an excellent, bluesy groove with “Moving On and Getting Over.”

Track 7, “Theme from “The Search for Everything,” is especially beautiful because Mayer leaves the feelings streaming from the sprawling instrumental up for personal interpretation. It could mark the beginning or the end of a journey. It could celebrate love or mourn a great loss. We get to decide.

Ultimately, John Mayer would be justified in considering The Search for Everything a personal and musical triumph. This record arguably isn’t so much a return to pop music for Mayer as it is an open outpouring of universal truths about loving and losing someone who made you take a more honest look at yourself. He’s arguably laid his heart wide open for the first time since Room for Squares and it’s a beautiful thing.

John Mayer is touring to support The Search for Everything. Click here for information on AXS-ticketed shows and stay tuned to AXS for John Mayer updates.