Expectations couldnt have been higher for Mayers newest effort, so pressure to deliver on his sophomore album must have been immense. Fortunately for Mayer, Heavier Things is the perfect second effort accessible enough to keep old fans interested, yet diverse and adventurous enough to show how deep Mayers talent for melody and rhythm really runs.
Clarity gradually develops amidst piano and backbeat, while Mayers smoky voice sings a story of a love doomed to fail. The song seems to be a grim assessment of Mayers own time in the spotlight, as he laments, By the time I recognize this moment/This moment will be gone. Next up is Mayers current single, Bigger Than My Body, which sounds like it could have fit in just about anywhere on Room for Squares. Its a safe single, and its certainly hard to resist the pure pop fun of Mayers melodic guitar and uplifting lyrics.
The middle of the album is a mixture of the midtempo and slower numbers that have come to define Mayers sound. Somethings Missing is another Why Georgia with better production. New Deep resembles the energetic feel of Mayers earlier work, with a driving bass line and killer guitar licks. The only real misstep on the album is Mayers attempt to recreate the silky earlymorning romance of Your Body is a Wonderland with Come Back to Bed. The song never really catches fire, and what could be a nice melody is bogged down with uninteresting rhythms and forgettable lyrics.
Where Mayers Come Back to Bed fails, his atmospheric ode to loneliness, Split Screen Sadness, succeeds and then some. Written shortly after his breakup with Jennifer Love Hewitt, the song expresses his sorrow and anger at the distance that separates us all, physical or otherwise. Mayers frustration and anxiety is almost palpable as he croons, All you need is love is a lie/cuz we had love but we still said goodbye. Its obviously not all wine and roses being the new darling of the pop world.
The last half of the album contains Mayers most open and mature work to date. Daughters is a perfect folk song, with a strong positive message and a spare, breathless acoustic melody. Only Heart, on the other hand, churns along a powerful electric groove, reminiscent of Love Soon from Mayers first EP, Inside Wants Out.
Homelife, however, is the real revelation on Heavier Things enough Motown bounce to make Al Green jealous, and deep, insightful lyrics expressing Mayers wish to finish on a Friday/ and sit in traffic on the highway and how hes still waiting holding out for a home life. Mayer even accepts that even the best relationship could fail, but he emphatically declares, I will marry just once/ and if it doesnt work out/ give her half of my stuff. The song is a serious departure for Mayer, both lyrically and musically.
In the end, thats the point of Heavier Things it announces Mayers arrival as a serious, mature artist with intelligent, moody and truly insightful wisdom to impart. Very heavy indeed.