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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

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John Mayer's 'Wave Three' finishes strong

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To make the cut on John Mayer’s seventh studio album, “The Search for Everything,” songs had to satisfy one of three criteria: Either they make you hurt, make you feel, or make you move.

Even then, Mayer told NPR’s Talia Schlanger, if the song wasn’t true to the artist, it got nixed.

“I’ll go, ‘Oh, that is a great drumbeat. Listen to that guitar tone. Listen to that,‘” Mayer said. “And then when I sing on top of it, I go, ‘I don’t believe that for a second,’ and so I don’t finish it because I don’t buy it.”

It’s through this painstaking process that “Search” came to us — finally, in its entirety — at midnight Friday. An album that was released in waves to keep from overwhelming listeners with 14 new songs ended its three-part reveal as a standard12-track set.

Let’s dive in to the third and final wave.

“In the Blood”

Easily the most anticipated song on the album, “In the Blood” is also the most important. For weeks, Mayer has been teasing this track on his Twitter account, and now, we finally get to hear the raw, unbridled lyrics for ourselves. “How much of my mother has my mother left in me?/ How much of my love will be insane to some degree?/ And what about this feeling that I’m never good enough?/ Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?” Mayer told NPR he won’t ever go into personal detail about this song, refusing to “color it in.” Perfect. This leaves all the more room for us to color it in ourselves. Much like “Stop This Train,” “Gravity” and all of the Mayer greats, “In the Blood” is a deeply personal anthem that can be universally felt.

“Theme from ‘The Search for Everything’”

It’s 4 p.m. Christmas Day. The sun is already sinking above the blacktop at Joshua Tree National Park, where a single RV is parked. This is the backdrop for Mayer's writing of “Theme from ‘The Search for Everything,’” a beautiful instrumental that gives new life and meaning to each of its vocal counterparts. Months later, he listened back and discovered the undercurrent of this album, a melody — thanks to some lovely drum and symbol work — that both feels and sounds like crashing waves.

“Never on the Day You Leave”

Another moving Mayer breakup ballad, “Never on the Day You Leave” is a bittersweet reminder of all the things — big and small — that you come to miss after a split. That this is the least remarkable song from wave three speaks to the collective strength of these new tracks. There are no weak links in this release like there were in waves one in “Love on the Weekend” and two in “Roll it on Home” — just a solid crop of songs that are a joy to listen to.

“Rosie”

If the other songs from wave three are feelers, then this one is the mover. “Rosie” is a relic of “Continuum," a bonus track whose sound was ripped straight from the Grammy-winning album and dropped onto “Search” 11 years later. Obscured by more prominent songs such as “In The Blood” and “Still Feel Like Your Man,” this “New Deep”-“I Don’t Trust Myself With Loving You” hybrid is the dark horse for the best song on “Search.”

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