John Mayer Puts Out “I Guess I Just Feel Like” After Long Drought
“I Guess I Just Feel Like,” comes a year after John Mayer’s last release and two years after his last album. It’s likely to be the only new Mayer music we’ll get for some time, as he’s slated to tour from now through mid-September, but fret not. The four-minute, forty-five-second country-tinged ballad will satisfy both the die-hard fan crying in the mezzanine at Dead & Company as well as anybody looking for a nice acoustic song with a gorgeous vocalist.
The arrangement is intimate and sparse, more oriented to Mayer’s single acoustic guitar than a full band. Despite this, it’s satisfyingly fleshed-out, slowly building on country licks and increasing orchestration that galvanize Mayer’s me-and-an-acoustic vibe rather than overpower it. As the greatest guitarist of our generation (we can have this argument later), it’d be weird not to hear a Mayer solo bring this track home — especially after so long without new music — and he does not disappoint. Mayer manages to satisfy this expectation without violating the intimate, subdued atmosphere he cultivates in the first three minutes.
The cover art features the subtitle “No Frills,” an accurate characterization of Mayer’s approach to this song. IGIJFL features no fancy effects, processing, or digital ear candy. It could have been written much earlier in Mayer’s career, if not for its careful cultural relevance.
Compared to “New Light,” his second most recent track [gotta be a better way to word that], IGIJFL is significantly less reliant on electronic elements. “New Light” has an 80’s disco feel to it, with bubbly synths and Prince-like drums. Though not a stretch — Mayer has experimented with folk, pop and blues before — it was definitely a new feel for his almost twenty-year discography.
By comparison, IGIJFL feels much more like natural Mayer, like he’s trying less to fit his music into synthesizers and effects,
With the notable exception of “Waiting on the World to Change,” Mayer’s music doesn’t often drift into overt commentary on the world outside. IGIJFL manages to speak on the present moment without being preachy or explicitly tying the entire song solely to that topic. The songwriting maintains enough ambiguity to be heard apolitically, but themes of lying, concern for the future, and general confusion make IGIFJL especially appropriate for today.
Mayer has been releasing music for almost twenty years, and though much of his style has changed, IGIJFL represents a return to Mayer’s roots as a songwriter and musician. Sometimes, career longevity seems to depend on an artist’s ability to evolve with the years. In the case of John Mayer, greatness means not having to change much at all. Mayer’s just gotta do what he does.
Bandana Season Is Upon Us: Freddie & Madlib Return with “Flat Tummy Tea”
Clear the runway: Freddie Gibbs and MadLib are back to dominate the rap industry. Their reign started in 2014 with “Piñata,” and while they haven’t been actively releasing collaborative work since then, “Flat Tummy Tea,” is a sign that 2019 will be huge for the power duo.
Freddie’s proved himself as an artist that can open a song with a fiery delivery, and did just that, making “Flat Tummy Tea” a heater from the first second. It’s nice to have Freddie back.
The track picks up right where “Pinata,” left, a punchy, rapid-fire attack on “Congress cock-blocking n****s from coming home to their family.” Freddie’s ruthless attitude is in full effect, whether it’s in the first, more high-tempo verse, or the second, a
With “Bandana” as the awaited reunion between Freddie and
Although “Flat Tummy Tea,” is only a teaser, it shows us Freddie and MadLib are back in full effect for 2019. Bandana season is upon us.
Tierra Whack Continues Momentum on “Only Child”
After making waves with her 2018 album, Whack World, Tierra Whack is back with her first single of 2019, “Only Child.” Whack World set the table in establishing Whack as a unique rapper, armed with lighthearted and accessible lyrics.
That same energy is back on “Only Child,” as Tierra raps about a dude treating her poorly because of his upbringing as an only child. It’s a pretty biting insult to psychoanalyze someone and call them an embarrassment because of their childhood, and she delivers her bars in her signature crooning flow.
Standing at four minutes, “Only Child” runs a third of the time of Whack World, and while it doesn’t contain as dense of musical themes, it’s still a fun preparation for what should be another good year for Tierra Whack fans.
Offset Releases Father of 4, Gunna Drops Drip or Drown
Atlanta natives Offset and Gunna dropped their awaited projects this past Friday, and although each have the entertaining bars and flows we’ve come to expect, neither went above and beyond to establish themselves as top-tier rappers.
“Lick,” off Father of 4 has a swirling flute sample, and Offset bounces around the instrumental with dexterity, making for another in his catalogue of fun, easy listens. “North Star,” also comes out of nowhere to create a masterpiece as CeeLo Green leads the track into the stars with colossal vocals, singing about refusing to fall, instead shining bright like the North Star. It’s such a beautiful song that it feels out of place on an otherwise bass-heavy album.
Father of 4 is a 5/10 for me. If Offset had more often gone in the direction of “North Star,” it could have been a much more listenable project.
While predictable, Gunna’s project provides more subdued bars full of the same references he’s been making since he blew up. The opener, “Wit It,” is a snoozer, but “Outstanding,” and “One Call,” pick up the pace as the next two tracks with ear-catching flows and instrumentals. Despite potential offered by the title, “Derek Fisher,” Gunna and Lil Baby create an absolute bore of a track, further disrespecting one of the worst NBA coaches of the 2010s. “
Gunna’s flows on Drip or Drown just don’t hold their own if you’re listening front to back. It’s a 3/10.
-The Sideline Sounds Staff
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