Where John Mayer is concerned, it’s much better to be his current pop star girlfriend than one of his celebrity exes.
One-time girlfriend Taylor Swift, who famously eviscerated Mayer in her 2010 track “Dear John,” is reportedly the subject of his new album’s lead single “Paper Doll.”
Mayer, who makes a stop 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, describes the unnamed title character in less-than-flattering terms:
“You’re like 22 girls in one/And none of them know what they’re running from.”
Meanwhile, current squeeze Katy Perry gets to appear on the singer-songwriter-guitarist’s new album, “Paradise Valley” (Columbia) to perform the duet “Who You Love.”
Mayer hopes the Perry collaboration won’t seem like a “gimmick.”
“I love a good challenge and that’s certainly one,” Mayer tells Billboard magazine. “But the hope is you hear it once because of the curiosity and then you go, ‘Wow, I really like that. I could find a place for hearing that a lot more.’”
The voice behind such hits as “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters” is just happy to be able to express himself, having been hit with severed vocal problems that forced him to cancel his tour in support of his 2012 album “Born and Raised.” Several surgeries and Botox injections have mostly resolved his health issues.
But the drawn-out process of restoring his voice seems to have added some gravitas to Mayer.
In recent years he has been known as much for his inability to edit himself during interviews and tabloid-fodder relationships with a string of celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.
As for his musical craft, “Close your eyes,” Los Angeles Times critic Randall Roberts writes about “Paradise Valley.” “Erase your mind. Forget about Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and the various extracurricular activities that have hobbled singer-guitarist-romantic John Mayer’s reputation off the playing field.
“Breathe, and think about the guitar while inhaling fresh air and electrified guitar licks. As a Wyoming wind blows through your hair, imagine that the John Mayer Cruise never happened.”
According to New York Times critic Jon Caramanica, Mayer’s new album is “unexpected impressive” and a vehicle through which Mayer “has quite a lot to say.”
“‘Paradise Valley’ is meant to represent his staking a claim to maturity, both as a musician and as a person,” Caramanica writes. “He does that by acknowledging past wrongs, obliquely. Variously he describes himself as ‘a runaway train,’ ‘a feather in a hurricane’ and ‘the breeze,’ and he waxes nostalgic for ‘that peaceful wandering free I used to know.’”
Mayer, who has spent the summer on the road, says his health crisis caused him to re-think some of his life choices.
“Maybe all the crazy years, the noisy kind of years were just to get to a place where I could have tenure and put a record out,” he tells The Huffington Post.