The Gleaming Sword
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The Gleaming Sword

Cheek By Jowl: Room for Squares (2001) & Waiting for My Rocket to Come (2002)

John Mayer and Jason Mraz: the nice guys

Courtesy of Spotify: Room for Squares & Waiting for My Rocket to Come

This may come as a shocker but the albums mentioned in the heading are almost 20 years old. So I think it’s proper to adopt the phrase, a trip down memory lane, as we listen to them cheek-by-jowl.

Welcome to the 4th installment of this series where we attempt to pair two albums and dare to explain why they could be a good match.

John Mayer and Jason Mraz is a pretty obvious pair but then again, we don’t always have to overanalyze. Also, we all deserve to lie-low and lay back because like me, you’ve probably exerted so much effort to make 2021 better than last year. But it’s March already so let’s take it easy for a while now. So here’s something easy for us to enjoy.

The 2000s. The new millennium. Not that new anymore. Pop culture sure shifted as the century turned. The cool guys of the 90s were the bands for sure: Greenday, Red Hot Chili Peppers – you get the idea. But ‘00s is welcomed by dudes playing their guitars on some level I cannot comprehend. And the tone of their voice, man, is incredible.

Jason and John without their last names sound like they’re just our pals. How I wish. They are simply the epitome of being nice. They are like dudes who mean no harm. To top it all, they don’t seem to exert a lot of effort in what they do. If I can be half as chill as these guys, I’d be set.

They may be calm but they exude so much soulful energy. John Mayer is bluesy while Jason Mraz is folksy but both is acoustically genius. When I listen to Mayer’s Room for Squares and Mraz’s Waiting for my Rocket to Come, I can’t seem to tell the difference.

Here’s the sample:

They capture the innocence of the early 2000s. Did you notice that there’s no “Explicit” tags on any of the tracks? There are no swear words and none is hateful. Listening to them brings us back to a time when everything seemed simple and more private. The albums are released before the invention of social media. When Facebook and his gang arrived on the scene, everyone seemed willing to share even the things that should remain private. Which is the complete opposite of Mayer and Mraz (I can’t call them John and Jason anymore). They don’t seem to care for fame. They are made to play their two instruments: the guitar and their voice.

The nice guys

John Mayer is implicitly sensual. Talk about complimenting someone by saying, “You’re body is a wonderland.” I’d be laughed at if I use that sentence. But it’s all too natural for Mayer. The rest of the songs are as respectful but occasionally melancholic.

Here’s John Mayer making everyone feel better about themselves.

On the other hand, Jason Mraz is just as awesome. His hit song “The Remedy” is about his bestfriend who was fighting cancer at the time. The song became an anthem for people who were battling the same disease and the hook “I won’t worry my life away” hits home all the damn time. My mother fought cancer for many years and lost the battle in 2012 so if I can say my thanks to this guy for the hope he provided during those trying times, I would.

Here’s Jason Mraz narrating the moving backstory of “The Remedy.”

John Mayer and Jason Mraz demonstrate that you don’t have to be rude to get attention. You don’t have to fill your music with swear words. Their music are as pleasant as their human nature. Listening to their albums cheek-by-jowl might uplift your spirit.

Many thanks for gracing this story with your time. I hope that you take things easy every now and then.

In case you missed last week, here’s Patti Smith and The Doors on poetry and rock-and-roll:




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Harry Male

Harry Male

Here for music, literature, and good omens.

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