Room for Squares, John Mayer Aware/Columbia

BY ROBYN MELAMED
Daily Arts Editor
Published December 4, 2001

Is it Sting? Is it Dave? Nope, it"s John Mayer. OK, so he doesn"t have the most original sound in the world, but who does these days? In an age when the most meaningful love songs are coming from bands like "Nsync and LFO, a little imitation is, ironically, refreshing. Oh, and did I mention? He"s better looking than Sting or Dave. (Check out www.johnmayer.com for some hard evidence).

Paul Wong
Director Ed Burns has a sexy profile.<br><br>Courtesy of Paramount

In his first major label release, Room for Squares, Mayer puts himself out there as a confused, love-struck, man and of course as a gifted guitarist.

His first track, "No Such Thing," goes back to Mayer"s high school days, where "They love to tell you/Stay inside the lines/But something"s better/On the other side." Although the concept of a 23-year-old Mayer looking back five years seems a little silly, the song itself is catchy and is easy to relate to.

The ultimate highlight on the album is the seductive, "Your Body is a Wonderland." This song gives every guy out there an exact guide to what a girl wants to hear.

Mayer"s slow strum of his guitar and his sexy voice are just bonuses to his lyrics. He starts with "One mile to every inch/Of your skin like porcelain/One pair of candy lips and/Your bubblegum tongue." He continues to romance with, "You tell me where to go and/Though I might leave to find it/I"ll never let your head hit the bed/Without my hand behind it."

After "Wonderland," the album goes right into the faster-paced, "Neon." Mayer compares a woman on the prowl with neon, and complains that "She comes and goes and no one knows/She"s slipping through my hands."

In "Love Song for No One," Mayer laments that he"s "tired of being alone," and in the last track on the album, "St. Patrick"s Day," Mayer goes through the months of the year that remind him of (you guessed it) love.

The joy of John Mayer is that as of this very moment, he"s not a huge, over-publicized star. He doesn"t have a large group of fans that hang on to his every last word you know, the kind that obnoxiously scream their love for teen pop stars on TRL. This is not to say that this won"t happen anytime soon, but in the meantime, let"s just hope for the best.

Whether you want smooth sounds or a catchy beat, Room for Squares will get the job done. It will make you want to lay around and relax, while at the same time, tap your foot to the beat.

Girls, I guarantee you"ll love this album for the simple fact that Mayer"s lyrics are full of great, romantic images.

Guys, I guarantee you won"t be able to stand this album but then again, you do need to get your girl a present for the holidays.

Grade: B+