John Mayer, "Who Says"

Track Review

John Mayer's debut single off his forthcoming "Battle Studies" album finds the singer/songwriter asking a rather daring question: "Who says I can't get stoned?" This is clearly a departure for the artist, from both his radio-friendly singles and heartthrob image. "Who Says" balances Mayer's signature velvety tone with a more stripped-down, folk-inspired arrangement. The lyrics are about yearning for the freedom to define and redefine himself by, among other things, traveling solo, turning off his telephone and pursuing old flames. Mayer may not be speaking in grandiose terms about changing the world or marveling over a woman's beauty, but maybe that's the point. As the singer himself puts it, "Who says I can't be free, from all of the things that I used to be?" --Crystal Bell