‘Battle Studies’ touches on serious side of love

Andrew Petsche

The loss of love and the unexplainable slew of emotions that follow a failed relationship lead most people into silence. Why speak about something that brings forth thoughts of defenselessness and fear?

“Battle Studies,” the fourth and latest studio album from lyrical genius John Mayer, casts aside all the vulnerable feelings that come from heartbreak. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the United States Billboard 200 chart, ventures into Mayer’s own battles with relationships.

Littered with optimistic guitar riffs and melancholy lyrics, “Battle Studies” was explained by the 32-year-old musician as a “heartbreak handbook.” On the first track, “Heartbreak Warfare,” Mayer portrays failed love as a battlefield plagued with bombs and the repulsive smell of sulfur.

The album is promoted by the new hit single “Who Says,” which has already reached No. 17 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Half of My Heart” features the only guest vocal appearance on the album, a harmonizing duet with pop country sensation Taylor Swift that may someday top the charts.

Mayer continues his trend of writing lyrics that are clear, concise and straight to the point. Even the album’s title, “Battle Studies,” leaves out the disambiguation oftentimes brought forth by other artists.

The album, put simply, is a collection of Mayer’s thoughts (or studies) on his own personal battles with love and failed attempts at it.

With that said, the album does not lack the typical Mayer sound of catchy melodies topped with killer guitar solos. Take the song “Crossroads,” a bluesy track that allows the multi Grammy award-winning guitarist to show off his skills in a two-and-a-half minute jam session.

The song “Assassin,” which features the often unheard xylophone, pauses to allow Mayer to shred in between a verse and the chorus.

Mayer’s ability to write songs that are easy to relate to such as “Friends, Lovers or Nothing” and “Perfectly Lonely” makes this album an easy listen that will hit you right in the heart, in a good way, of course.

Mayer’s attempt to mix blues and pop in today’s music scene succeeds yet again. “Battle Studies” can be summed up in one word: brilliant.