It’s here! My new John Mayer CD came in the mail today! JG carries it up from the mailbox and I grab the scissors en route to opening my (not so) long-awaited package from my buddies over at Amazon. Heartbeat quickening, I break through the box and that weird cellophane stuff that always reminds me of Parafilm from my chemistry days of old. Then I have it in my hands, with just a thin layer of shrinkwrap between me and
I press Play, and oh! The strains of that popular radio single in my very own living room! I can play it anytime I want now! But enough gloating, there are liner notes to explore. Ooh, big fat ones, this time. I feel the anticipation of learning a whole album’s worth of new songs with the cheat sheet right in my hands, with the plus side of black and white photography. But that’s just like my John. So down to earth. I flip back to read the thank you section and what’s this? A line for me? “My Fans keep me honest.” Swoon! Okay, fine, it’s not just for me, but whatever, I am totally included in the act of keeping John Mayer honest. It’s there, in print! If anyone needs me, I’ll be hanging out with John. How can you not love a guy who put the periodic table on his first full-length album? Sigh.
I’m not normally a blithering idiot, but I buy music so rarely that a new album is a little personal holiday. I don’t have an mp3 player, and while I appreciate the flexibility and customization afforded by having playlists and things, I love albums. I love the cover, the liner notes, the order of the songs. I love imagining John Mayer in a studio, thinking about how he’s going to craft not only the songs, but the album as a whole. I love thinking about the songs that didn’t make the cut, and what is it about the ones that did? Were they extra special? Were they that much more honest? To me, the whole mp3 thing takes away that magic because I can’t imagine that artists intend to write singles outside of the context of an entire album. I don’t want a piece, I want the whole pie.