Room For Squares by John Mayer (2001)


“Might be a quarter-life crisis, or just a stirring in my soul.”

If you’re trying to figure out the theme of Room For Squares, it’s summed up for you perfectly in that line from ‘Why Georgia’. John Mayer exploded onto the scene when the opening track ‘No Such Thing’ hit the radio in 2002. It was one of those music moments where everyone knew that a star had been born, whether you liked the song or not. Since then Mayer has forced himself through a few musical identity changes, and he’s never quite revisited the popularity that he enjoyed right out of the gates. I’m sure he would say that he doesn’t care about popularity because it’s about the music (or whatever), but he does care. The guy can’t seem to consistently stay away from the media, Twitter, TMZ, etc. Mayer is probably the best guitar player in modern pop/rock music, but he just hasn’t been able to shake the “douche” public image off stage.

Room For Squares was focused and well-written, but didn’t really show off his guitar chops. He really is that good at guitar (look around online, you may be surprised which musicians agree) but that’s not the focus of what we’re hearing here. Maybe that’s the quarter-life crisis? Probably not…at this point in his career, instead of flexing his guitar muscles, Mayer was happy to sell records and impress ladies. This collection of songs couldn’t possibly have accomplished those two goals more completely. Every college-aged white girl in 2002 was wishing their lame hook-up buddy was John Mayer instead. His wacky facial expressions had not yet become common knowledge (‘My Stupid Mouth’ double entendre?) so in their eyes this guy was Luke Perry with a guitar. ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’ and ‘Back to You’ will go down in history as mixtape classics…every guy who scored with John’s help owes him a beer for the assist! Those songs are good, but focus on them and you’ll miss some great tracks. ‘83’ is probably my favorite…there are better songs, but I was 6 years old in 1983 so I’m his exact target audience. ‘Neon’ is a great track that never hit it big. But the two high-points here are ‘My Stupid Mouth’ and ‘Not Myself’…stellar songs with lyrics that are universal enough to fit into wherever the listener wants.

Room For Squares is going to be recognized as an all-time great pop/rock album once Mayer’s career is over. It has everything you’re looking for in that genre, and set the bar unattainably high for the rest of his career. ‘City Love’ is a sneak preview of where Mayer really wanted to take his music. Over time we’ve learned that he is much more concerned with making good music than catering to radio/pop interests. That’s probably a good thing for his legacy and credibility among musicians, but it did indeed lose him some fans over the years. Whatever happens the rest of the way, we’ll always have Room For Squares as proof that the guy can write catchy songs. If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand Mayer these days, I’ll bet you loved this album in 2002…no? My personal opinion of his music has always been pretty high, and I’ll continue to check out whatever he’s doing. I just hope I hear the music before I hear him talking about it on Twitter!

music turtle recommends: BUY IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below


2 Responses to “Room For Squares by John Mayer (2001)”

  1. 1 trojananteater

    check out john mayer on carson daly. i hate carson daly but his acoustic performance of “neon” is dope. He does things that a lot of accomplished guitarists can’t do.

    • who hates carson daly?? and who throws a shoe?

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