John Mayer’s career is kind of fascinating, because it follows a very different direction to most successful artists’. Many artists begin making their most oblique and difficult music, and then gradually move towards more accessible styles before finding success. Mayer is different, in that his first album of pop-rock was hugely successful (Your Body is a Wonderland is still on many radios today), so instead of moving further towards pop, he has actually ventured into more alternative styles like blues and country. Love on the Weekend suggests that Mayer is interested in finally returning to his roots, but is this change for the better?
Love on the Weekend sees Mayer singing about an exciting, dangerous love over echoing, reverted guitar, and laid-back drums. The instrumental is fairly tame, but the groove of the beat, and Mayer’s vocal style give the song a country vibe. It’s relaxed and pleasant, but perhaps feels somewhat small for the lead single to his new album. It lacks a lot of the fun and virtuosic guitar found in Mayer’s best work, and the end result feels somewhat staid. It isn’t helped by the cliché-ridden lyrics, with lines like “I’m flying fast like a wanted man” failing to make much of an impact. He references The Police with “we found a message in a bottle we were drinking” though, which adds a nice layer of depth to the lyrics.
Love on the Weekend is hardly a revelatory song, and it’s unlikely to gain much popularity, but it’s a solid track fit for a lazy afternoon. The lyrical content and tone feel somewhat at odds, but the overall effect is fairly pleasant. As a new John Mayer song, Love on the Weekend is decent, but his back-to-basics approach suggests he wants to regain the popularity of his earlier work, which this song just won’t do.