New Reviews: John Mayer, Norah Jones and Leona Lewis

November 17th, 2009 by Rolling Stone Leave a reply »

In this week’s New Reviews, John Mayer takes a look at the war-torn landscape of relationships with Battle Studies, an album that finds the singer trying to balance both his serious and comedic sides. “He’s a tabloid fixture who wears his celebrity with a wink… But then Mayer steps into a studio, and the fun spigot claps shut,” Jody Rosen writes in his three-star review of Battle Studies. “It’s as if Mayer, burdened by his status as heir apparent to the Clapton-Sting-Knopfler tradition of classy pop-rock classicism, pulls on a mask: the Furrowed Middlebrow.” Mayer is at his best when he drops the seriousness and reassumes his identity as a rocker/moonlighting standup comedian, as songs like “Half of My Heart” and “Who Says” show that Mayer can use his wit as a paintbrush for art. Still, Mayer lets his guitar god shine on a scorching version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads.”

Norah Jones has effortlessly shifted genres in her platinum-and-Grammy-filled career, and on her new disc The Fall she set out to make an album similar to Tom Waits’ Mule Variations, adding that LP’s producer and guitarist to her arsenal. “For her fourth LP, her liveliest, she rolls with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Modest Mouse) and hires feisty session men, including guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Joey Waronker,” Will Hermes writes in his three-and-a-half star review of The Fall. “The result is avant-roots music that rocks, albeit gently.” Ryan Adams, Okkervil River’s Will Sheff and frequent collaborator Jesse Harris all contribute to The Fall.

Also out this week is the second album by U.K. singer Leona Lewis, whose Echo hits shelves today. Rolling Stone didn’t exactly “bleeding love” the sophomore disc from the former X Factor champ, gi...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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