There was a time when we feared we would never hear a new song from Grammy Award winning artist John Mayer. The singer was forced to cancel his tour in March 2012 and announced on his blog that he had “ no choice but to take an indefinite break from live performing” due to a granuloma on his vocal cords. It was a sad time for both Mayer and his fans. That time, however, is over. Following surgery, some experimental techniques involving botox to shut down his vocal cords, and some good old fashioned enforced silence, John Mayer is back. And he isn’t arriving quietly.
With new album, Paradise Valley set to be released on 13 August, Mayer is stronger than ever, his period of silence giving him time to focus on songwriting and playing guitar. The artwork was released via Mayer’s blog today, and presents a striking image; one man and his dog alone in the wilds, a storm brewing behind them.
The first track, to be released, Paper Doll, has already brewed its own storm: speculation is rife that it’s a not so subtle dig at ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift. It seems Swift, well known for making several heartfelt lyrical digs at her former famous boyfriends could be having the tables turned on her.
"You’re like 22 girls in one/and none of them know what they’re running from," has echoes of Swift’s latest hit 22: “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.”
Of course it could be argued that Swift has invited the much speculated upon lyrical swipe from Mayer. 22 opens with the line “It feels like a perfect night / To Dress up like Hipsters / And make fun of our exes.” There’s also the small matter of the song Dear John from her album Speak Now. She may have denied publicly that the song was about Mayer, but the title was enough to draw comparison with the much publicized romance.
Whether or not Paper Doll is based on Swift, there’s no denying it’s a strong comeback song. And with a video featuring prancercise creator Joanna Rohrback (look up prancercise, you know you want to), it’s making waves on Youtube as well. A new single, a new album, and a new exercise phenomenon for us to discover? John Mayer: it’s good to have you back.