Room For Squares
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ROOM FOR SQUARES [BONUS DISC]
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Room For Squares After making minor waves with his 1999 debut, Inside Wants Out, John Mayer hired veteran producer John Alagia (a longtime associate of the Dave Matthews Band) to lace his first major-label effort with commercial appeal. Released in September 2001, Room for Squares proved to be a savvy, well-timed album, quietly heralding the end of teen pop's glory days with nuanced wordplay, a relaxed gait, and intricate (although nevertheless accessible) songwriting. Songs like "No Such Thing" and "Neon" mixed jazz chords with digestible choruses, fashioning a sort of brainy, college-educated pop hybrid that found a home amongst discerning listeners and mainstream fans alike. Of course, it didn't hurt that Mayer also loaded the album with more straightforward numbers -- particularly "Your Body Is a Wonderland," a bubbling piece of bedroom pop that helped swell his female audience. Mayer's heralded guitar solos and bluesy, Stevie Ray Vaughan-styled flourishes were sorely absent from the mix, though, as he initially limited the bulk of his fretwork to the acoustic guitar. It would take a jam-friendly concert album -- 2003's Any Given Thursday -- to introduce the breadth of Mayer's axeman skills to the public, but Room for Squares still provides a nice introduction to the songwriter's catalog, highlighting his blend of collegiate pop/rock and sensitive acoustics while only hinting at the eclectic, genre-hopping chameleon he would later become. [A bonus disc version was also released.] ~ Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide
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