A cocktail of tracks from his 2002 debut album Room for Squares, 2007's Continuum and his live album Where the Light Is add a range of chilled acoustic sounds and witty lyrics to my iPod which soothe my soul and tingle my spine in equal parts. Which is why I was so eager to download his latest effort, Battle Studies (released 16 November). At the height of his notoriety for all the wrong headlines, Mayer's people have obviously pushed for a suitably heartbroken and chastened album in the wake of the Jennifer Aniston affair, hence the title and slightly overstretched metaphor of love as battlefield. Expecting a feast of sensual pop-rock with real depth and honesty, I was sad to discover that Battle Studies is actually a little dull. Scrap that, 80% of the tracks are unbelievably skippable, with cliched lyrics, forgettable melodies and unremarkable riffs.
Mayer has really taken his eye off the ball here; in an effort to channel his gossip-column status he goes for the sympathy vote on Heartbreak Warfare, All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye and Friends, Lovers or Nothing, but they are so interchangeable it suggests a rushed album made to hit the shelves before the magazine pages cool. Half of My Heart featuring Taylor Swift (WHY?) only layers bland on bland, while attempting a cheeky nod at his womanizing ways.
Download: Who Says, Crossroads, Perfectly Lonely
From Mayer's back catalogue - Waiting on the World to Change, My Stupid Mouth, Your Body is a Wonderland, Stop This Train, Dreaming with a Broken Heart, Gravity, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room