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John Mayer, Live in Studio 4A

John Mayer in NPR's Studio 4A.
Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online /
John Mayer in NPR's Studio 4A.
Cover of the CD <i>Heavier Things</i> (Sony Music, 2003)
Cover of the CD Heavier Things (Sony Music, 2003)

It's been two years since John Mayer released his breakthrough album, Room for Squares, and those two years have been good to him. Very good. The album went triple-platinum, and Mayer won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the song "Your Body Is a Wonderland" at last year's Grammy Awards. Now the singer-songwriter is trying to continue his success with a new release, called Heavier Things.

"This is so good, something bad's going to happen to me," Mayer reflects after playing a lick from "Bigger Than My Body" off his new album. The song came to him so effortlessly that his sense of karma warns that all good things must come with a price.

Mayer played a preview of Heavier Things for NPR's Michele Norris in NPR's Studio 4A. Unlike Room For Squares, in which Mayer felt that he had to prove himself with driving and complex guitar figures to accompany his well-crafted lyrics, Heavier Things finds Mayer pulling back to focus more on melodies, and "what notes you choose when."

Mayer says, "[With] this record, I was able to find my sound a little bit more, and use the electric guitar as more of a voice."

By not relying so heavily on the acoustic guitar, Mayer found he could act more as a bandleader and work on his melodic side, as in his love song "Come Back to Bed," and "Daughters," a song about which he jokes, "This song was the reason we were born with ears."

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