Track Review: John Mayer, 'Shadow Days'


"Shadow Days" (3:53)
Producers: Don Was and John Mayer
Writers: John Mayer
Publishers: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP), Specific Harm Music (ASCAP)

When John Mayer begins the second verse of his new single with the declaration, "I ain't no troublemaker, and I never meant her harm," it seems pregnant with possibilities, given his well-chronicled tabloid history. But even more striking (by Mayer's design, we're sure) is the tune itself, a gentle and shimmering confluence of mellow Southern rock (think the Allman Brothers Band's "Melissa") with a guitar hook and solo that nods to "All Things Must Pass"-era George Harrison. And despite the song's dense and fully-loaded arrangement, there's a lightness of tone and a sonic spaciousness that lets Chuck Leavell's keyboards and Greg Leisz's pedal steel add rich texture to the mix. Mayer's understated vocal, meanwhile, laments the foibles of his past ("I'm a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time, got a rough start") but revels quietly in the lessons of growth and maturity, promising that "my shadows days are over." His "Born and Raised" album, meanwhile, is off to a shining start.

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