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Mayer, Rice, Gray: Lock Up Your Womenfolk

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Hah! They fool me not with their sensitivity and emotional vulnerability: they are in it for the tang. My MSNBC.com article:

    Following a spirited launch by Sheryl Crow last week, the “Today” show post-dawn concert series continues this Friday with John Mayer, the triply talented, hugely popular jazzy pop-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. But — and I speak as a concerned husband and father — don’t let Mayer’s gentle romanticism, clean-cut “perfect boyfriend” facade and deeply expressive facial contortions fool you America – he has COME FOR YOUR WOMEN, and his scheme has wildly succeeded in sending the heart of many a young woman aflutter.

    Women, I know Mayer’s type: avoiding the full frontal alpha male confrontation of testosterone and estrogen, Mayer and those of his ilk lull and beguile you. They don’t ram through the front door guns blazing, they slip in through a side entrance using understanding, self-deprecating humor, intelligence, and sensitivity: “your body is a wonderland” indeed!

    Mayer’s Plot Thickens

    John Mayer has fellow travelers in quiet seduction, singer/songwriters like Damien Rice and David Gray, and even enablers. Despite the fact that Mayer had already performed in the spotlight of the televised Grammy Awards in early ’03, won a Grammy in the same show (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Your Body Is a Wonderland”), and sold 3.5 million copies of his debut album “Room For Squares,” when guest host Jack Black introduced him as the musical performer on the season opener of “Saturday Night Live” last October, Black mispronounced his last name as “Meyer,” clearly manipulating the protective instincts of vulnerable females from coast to coast!

    I reluctantly admit, however, that Mayer, 26, has much to offer besides pouty lips and bedroom eyes scanning his sold-out shows for dewy female bounty. After growing up in Connecticut and briefly attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Mayer and his guitar settled in Atlanta in the late ’90s, where he steadily played the clubs, wrote songs and developed an enthusiastic following for his cool Dave Matthews-meets-Michael Franks voice, elegant, propulsive guitar accompaniment, and sophisticated melodies, all very well demonstrated in his self-released ’99 EP “Inside Wants Out.”

    Mayer appeared triumphantly at the South by Southwest Music Festival in early 2000 and was signed to Columbia, which released “Room For Squares” in ’01. On the strength of enduring singles “No Such Thing,” the dangerously appealing “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” and almost nonstop touring, Mayer tapped into both the adult alternative market that made Norah Jones a superstar, and enraptured girls of all ages.

    Mayer further solidified his grip with “Heavier Things,” a Billboard number one-charting album released last September, blessed with two more winning singles, “Clarity” and “Bigger Than My Body.” Millions more will be exposed to Mayer’s charms Friday morning – don’t say you weren’t warned….

Please click over for Mayer’s fellow dogs Rice and Gray.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Anne

    Mayer’s music is not my cup of cappucino, but I’ll bet the farm I have his average female fan pegged. On an episode of Snoop Dogg’s MTV comedy show last year, there was a parody of some home redecorating program. At the end of it, there was a teaser for the next episode, in which the furniture in the living room of Mayer’s #1 fan was moved one-quarter inch to the left. And she was thrilled, jumping for joy as if the room had been completely changed.

    So what’s my point? For instance, I love Slayer, but frankly some people can’t handle the aggressiveness of their music. I think a little guitar and some soft drums go a long way towards rocking these people’s worlds! Speed up the tempo even a little and they’ll have a heart attack.

  • Eric Olsen

    I would not have anticipated that the first comment on this post would invoke the name of Slayer.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    And from a female slayer fan, no less. That absolutely rocks.

    And here I had ruled out meeting women at metal shows. I guess I need to amend that.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Man, I definitely have to take issue with lumping the execrable Mayer in with the likes of Damien Rice and David Gray. Mayer’s that new breed of frat-boy, the kind who have figured out that it’s easier to infiltrate the female form by crooning meaningless ballads rather than showing off the power of his pecs and picking on geeks, as you also illustrate in a different way, but Rice and Gray are most certainly not. In fact, I’m rather stunned by the lumping – it just makes no sense whatsoever to stick Mayer in with people whose main goal is simply to express what they feel, when it’s pretty obvious from the ridiculously stupid and disturbing “Wonderland” that Mayer’s interests lie south of the button of every sorority girl’s low-rise jeans.

    Oh, here we go – I can feel this becoming the onset of another “artists” verses “entertainers” argument. I think I hear Sandra Smallson running to her computer as I write this!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    now the interesting thing here…is that i like Mayer way more than Gray. i heard tons of praise for Gray, borrowed a copy of White Ladder, and was left completely cold by the stuff.

    music’s a funny thing.

  • Eric Olsen

    Yes, music is a funny thing. Tom, I obviously do see similarities here in approach to music: personal, emotionally vulnerable, intimate. I was trying to be funny about Mayer and the babes, but there is an element of truth to it and the same with all who use this approach, at least to a certain extent. After listening to a lot of Mayer to write this, i ended up liking him reasonably well and a few songs, including the dreaded “Wonderland,” a lot. Remember, I don’t listen to the radio much so the “hits” don’t usually get played out for me.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I really like Damien Rice while I don’t totally appreciate Mayer or David Gray. I can see your point, Tom, that there are differences in the music, but from the perspective of marketing and the common fan (ie the majority of the people who buy these records) they are all lumped into the same genre.

    It was like when I had arguments with fans of the band Thursday because I mentioned the band the Used in the same breath as their beloved heroes. Are there lots of differences between The Used and Thursday? To me, yes. To the marketplace? They might as well be the same band because of the number of fans they share and the similar characteristics of the base.

  • Eric Olsen

    It is quite funny that we are variously triangulating between the three: I understand the differences but I like them all and see more similarities than differences in their approaches to music. I don’t think Mayer wants to communicate any less than the others do.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    i listened to an interview with Mayer and it was quite obvious to me that he puts a huge amount of time into not only the structure of his songs but also what he wants them to say.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Hell, I never listen to the radio and still somehow “Wonderland” got overplayed for me.

    I’ll give you the vulnerability aspect for Gray and Mayer, but I think Rice is far too dark for the mainstream to grasp onto. O is beautiful, and it is vulnerable sounding, but it’s a damaged kind of vulnerable, not the loveable vulnerability ascribed to Mayer. He’s all teddy-bear “pretty lady, won’t you help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart” where Rice is “my heart’s been crushed asunder and there’s no hope for it now.” Gray is more “I’m sad and lonely and now I’m going to be very thoughtful about being at peace with that.” At least that’s how I see it.

  • Eric Olsen

    I think those are pretty good summaries, Tom, but I still think you are too hard on our grimacing boy, who is one of those “popular in spite of” cases like Norah Jones, Say, rather than some calculated product.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    Mayer is for real. I saw the man of 1000 grimaii cameo on Chappelle’s Show. This isn’t some flash in the pan.

  • Eric Olsen

    He’s also a very fine guitar player

  • Anne

    I embark on strange tangents sometimes, Eric. However, I *try* to stay on topic. :-)

    Well, I know that Michele of A Small Victory likes to mosh to the music of Kerry King and company from time to time, so there have to be some more of us out there. Thanks for the affirmation, though, Craig!