Songs I Review: “The Search For Everything — Wave One,” John Mayer

The laid back, bluesy EP, released on January 20, shows us that Mayer is enjoying the recording process again and that he wants us to enjoy it with him.

With the release of The Search for Everything — Wave One, John Mayer continues his musical evolution. The laid back, bluesy EP, released on January 20, shows us that Mayer is enjoying the recording process again and that he wants us to enjoy it with him. It helps that two of the four tracks are potential classics.

The first of these is the opening, “Moving On and Getting Over.” A smooth R&B record at its core, the song is built on a rhythm and lead guitar responding to each other. It is groovy and upbeat, but inspired by a break up. “I still can’t seem to get you off my mind,” Mayer sings with a drum-kick punctuating each word. “I’ve got to get over!” he sings, breaking out in a falsetto. With the soulful jam session at the end, it’s clear that Mayer has moved on or has at least started the process.

The second track worth playing on repeat is the last one, “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me.” The soft piano ballad proves that it’s still OK to release honey-sweet love songs about missing an ex without smearing her reputation. A whistled melody accompanies the piano, and the song closes with a heartfelt confession:

And when the pastor asks the pews
 For reasons he can’t marry you
 I’ll keep my word and my seat
But you’re gonna live forever in me
 I guarantee, just wait and see

The middle-two tracks are pleasant, but skippable. “Changing” is a slow song about just that — “I may be old, and I may be young,” Mayer sings, “but I am still changing.” While this lyric is clever, it is the only memorable moment on this overly repetitive song.

“Love On the Weekend” is a solid effort at returning to the early-2000s pop-rock Mayer became famous for. With its cutesy reprise, the pop jam may appear in a few rom-com scenes but seems out of place with the more poetic and mature tracks on the EP. Still, longtime Mayer fans will be pleased to hear elements of his albums Heavier Things (2003) and Battle Studies (2009) in this radio-friendly single.

Mayer joins the growing list of artists who are experimenting with the album-release process. The 39-year-old singer-songwriter is releasing his seventh studio album in ‘waves,’ because he recorded more “songs than can fit in your standard-sized album,” he announced last year.

“The price of admission is four songs,” he told Rolling Stone. “If you don’t like these, don’t get the next four.” Mayer’s hope is that you will like these; or that he can at least whet your appetite enough to listen to the next wave.

Wave One oddly reveals more about an impatient internet culture than it does about Mayer’s music. We want immediate gratification in every field, including music — or as one Instagram user commented on Mayer’s account, “disappointed this was the result after such a long hiatus.” Perhaps she just didn’t enjoy the music.

But some fans and critics want Mayer to be searching less and releasing more. But Mayer, one of the most creative musicians alive, has never produced a lackluster album. So if we can all ride the next wave, the full compilation of The Search for Everything will be well worth the wait.