Battle Studies...Mayer's BEST record!
Old 31st January 2010
  #1
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Battle Studies...Mayer's BEST record!

I love this record. SO much. I think John Mayer has progressed for the better with each album. Heavier Things was much better than Room For Squares. Continuum was better than Heavier Things. And now Battle Studies is better than Continuum.

I love the vintage sound of the record, especially those great drums. Album reminds me of a early 80's country, and in a very satisfying way. It's very laid back and gentle - odd almost.

Anyone know much about the tracking/mixing process... what board it was tracked on, etc?
Old 31st January 2010
  #2
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I haven't heard it yet, but in this month's Rolling Stone, Mayer says he still thinks Continuum is his best record. To each his own, I guess. He'd either appreciate you, or question your taste.

Thanks for the review. Can't wait to hear it.
Old 31st January 2010
  #3
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shakespearesmans View Post
Anyone know much about the tracking/mixing process... what board it was tracked on, etc?
Mayer has posted tons of YouTube clips of the Battle Studies sessions, from setting up the studio with Steve Jordan to mix sessions.
Old 31st January 2010
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azirkin View Post
I haven't heard it yet, but in this month's Rolling Stone, Mayer says he still thinks Continuum is his best record. To each his own, I guess. He'd either appreciate you, or question your taste.

Thanks for the review. Can't wait to hear it.

Yeah I read that, thought his honesty was hilarious in that context, and refreshing too I guess. Although I think Battle Studies is his best record, I would probably say that Continuum has his best song - "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room." In fact, that's one of the best hooks I've ever heard.

Battle Studies is more consistent I think. The only song I don't like is the first single off of it, "Who Says."

Anyway, I just love the sound of the record. Sounds like the whole thing was tracked on maybe a Neve straight to 2 inch tape. I'll have to check out the youtube videos, to be sure.
Old 31st January 2010
  #5
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I completely disagree.

Heavier Things was a BIG step back from the first. Continuum was king. This is a big step back from it.
Old 31st January 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I completely disagree.

Heavier Things was a BIG step back from the first. Continuum was king. This is a big step back from it.
That's how I feel as well. Continuum is still the best record he's ever made so far, Mayer's right about that.
Old 31st January 2010
  #7
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dan_zero's Avatar
 

continuum is still the greatest.

i am a big fan of battle studies though, i love the country edge and the drum and guitar tones are just superb. i caught mayer's concert in Manchester 2 weeks ago, it was just fantastic!

i wonder what his next album will be like?
Old 31st January 2010
  #8
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battle studies is a great record, i love it.
Old 31st January 2010
  #9
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Exquisite Red's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I completely disagree.

Heavier Things was a BIG step back from the first. Continuum was king. This is a big step back from it.
thumbsup
Old 31st January 2010
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I completely disagree.

Heavier Things was a BIG step back from the first. Continuum was king. This is a big step back from it.
And I completely disagree with that. I think Heavier Things was a big step forward - good production, killer guitar sound, excellent songwriting. Room For Squares, aside from "Back to You", "Not Myself", and "Why Georgia" is kinda boring IMHO. It feels to samey all the way through.

Continuum was another evolution, and then Battle Studies I think completes the evolutionary process. After this, I believe the only place for Mayer to go would be some off the wall place he's never been, because it certainly doesn't seem he's comfortable with complacency.

In the meantime, Battle Studies is something I can't stop listening to. I don't think it's his most immediate record at all - it took me quite a few times to 'get it', but now that I have, I find it completely absorbing.
Old 31st January 2010
  #11
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Dude can play, no doubt about that. After reading and seeing a lot of interviews with him he is super candid and funny. Seems like he would be cool to hang with and go get a beer. Although if he was my wingman that would suck because I have a feeling most of the female attention would be directed towards him.
Old 31st January 2010
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakespearesmans View Post
Anyway, I just love the sound of the record. Sounds like the whole thing was tracked on maybe a Neve straight to 2 inch tape. I'll have to check out the youtube videos, to be sure.
I think it was a Neve. I see a lot of DAW screens in the videos, but that doesn't mean much. I've seen DAWs used for playback and for staging a mix to avoid excessive playback on the tape machines and preserve the high end. Or maybe it was just tracked to a DAW. Some people can get those things sounding okay these days.

Here's a big thread on Battle Studies: Have you heard John Mayer's Battle Studies yet?
Old 31st January 2010
  #13
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travisbrown's Avatar
The obvious problem with Battle Studies is that it was monitored through NS-10s.
Old 31st January 2010
  #14
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continuum
heavier things
room for squares
battle studies -although i wish heartbreak warfare was on another because its a cool tune. assassin couldn't have been a worst song. absolutely amateur to me.
Old 31st January 2010
  #15
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Yeah i was a bit disappointed with Battle Studies. Stop This Train and Slow Dancing in a Burning Room are about as close to perfect as it gets for me. Continuum is probably in my top 3 albums of the last decade.

I think Battle Studies sounds a bit too generic "Adult Contemporary" by comparison.
Old 31st January 2010
  #16
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Originally Posted by AbbeyRhodes View Post
Yeah i was a bit disappointed with Battle Studies. Stop This Train and Slow Dancing in a Burning Room are about as close to perfect as it gets for me. Continuum is probably in my top 3 albums of the last decade.

I think Battle Studies sounds a bit too generic "Adult Contemporary" by comparison.
I heard people raving about battle studies and was disappointed to be honest - maybe on GS some people think more about the sound of the snare than the quality of the writing.
Continuum however is good in every department - ymmv
Old 31st January 2010
  #17
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Originally Posted by nigel saunders View Post
maybe on GS some people think more about the sound of the snare than the quality of the writing.
And some people care about both, so they come to the obvious conclusion that Battle Studies is AWESOME.
Old 31st January 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakespearesmans View Post
And now Battle Studies is better than Continuum.
Not really.

It's alright, and sounds really nice, but as a record I think Continuum was way better.
Old 31st January 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel saunders View Post
I heard people raving about battle studies and was disappointed to be honest - maybe on GS some people think more about the sound of the snare than the quality of the writing.
Continuum however is good in every department - ymmv

i agree. the sound is really great from an engineering point of view but i find the songwriting boring at times
Old 31st January 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I completely disagree.

Heavier Things was a BIG step back from the first. Continuum was king. This is a big step back from it.
Yeah. I agree with you mostly. Although I don't think he's made a "bad" album, it feels like he does an amazing album, then a growth album, (repeat). VERY interested in seeing where he goes now.

Also, everytime I hear a record that was recorded in a "house", it doesn't sound that great to me....generally speaking.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
I think it was a Neve. I see a lot of DAW screens in the videos, but that doesn't mean much. I've seen DAWs used for playback and for staging a mix to avoid excessive playback on the tape machines and preserve the high end. Or maybe it was just tracked to a DAW. Some people can get those things sounding okay these days.

Here's a big thread on Battle Studies: Have you heard John Mayer's Battle Studies yet?
I talked to Chad Franscoviak (John's tracking engineer/FOH) at a recent Mayer concert and told me they were using a Neve console into Pro Tools, although I believe John's vocal chain is an API channel strip into an 1176.

Do you think tape is becoming too expensive for artists to record to these days?

He had some interesting things to say about the challenge of tracking the album in a house. A lot of rugs were hung on walls in an attempt to deaden the rooms. They also had quite a challenge getting the make-shift control room to sound "right" and accurately represent what they were recording.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #22
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crconover View Post
Do you think tape is becoming too expensive for artists to record to these days?
I'm sure tape cost is not a factor in a project of this scale.

Tape is used less and less because the workflow and media management of DAW recording vastly outweigh any real or perceived sonic benefit of tape.

You'll hear people rail against its decline, but the realty is that tape is an archaism.

Tape cost is surely a consideration for more junior and independent acts, though.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #23
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yeah it really is a great record. The production is fantastic, great songs. I generally dislike John Mayer though. I went to a concert of his a few years back and the entire show in between songs he kept saying stuff that was overtly trying to make girls horny...not just a little, but big time. Nasty, awkward, just plain yucky. Lost a lot of respect for the guy.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #24
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ironbelly's Avatar
 

i like blah better i think it has a more boring sense of ego gone wild
Old 2nd March 2010
  #25
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cinealta's Avatar
 

IMO, "Continuum" has superior songwriting and performances.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #26
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I dig Battle Studies, but my vote is Continuum. I absolutely love the epic electric tones they captured on that record and the songs were better IMO. Continuum is still in my top 10 favorite records of the decade...
Old 2nd March 2010
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synonym Music View Post
That's how I feel as well. Continuum is still the best record he's ever made so far, Mayer's right about that.
Agreed. No contest.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
I think it was a Neve.
Neve 8014 (1073's) for guitars & bass. Helios console for drums.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanMan View Post
I went to a concert of his a few years back and the entire show in between songs he kept saying stuff that was overtly trying to make girls horny...not just a little, but big time. Nasty, awkward, just plain yucky. Lost a lot of respect for the guy.
It's become pretty clear that Mayer should just stick to playing guitar and singing. The more he opens his mouth, the more stupid things fall out. His recent Playboy interview was pretty embarrassing. Managed to be racist, misogynistic, sexist, and narcissistic all in about half a page. He was too busy trying to be witty to actually hear what he was saying.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #30
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After listening to the record for a couple of months now, I think I prefer Continuum. The songs on Battle Studies just don't sound as 'finished' as the ones on Continuum. In other words, I think the songs on Battle Studies could have been written by some other artists as well, while the songs on Continuum sounded, at least to me, as some sort of Mayer-esque uniqueness. Battle Studies sounds more like a collection of ideas that still need that final magical touch which IS present in the Continuum songs. Before it was released, I had really, really high expectations, especially because of the great pictures and descriptions of some new way of making an album in his blog and the video's Mayer posted on YouTube. Not only the inside-studio-views but also Battle Studies nr.3 (the trip to Japan) and the demo version of War of my Life (which, to me, sounds a lot better than the final song). Also, I was really disappointed with the lack of 'Taking on Water' on the album. Mayer posted a demo of this as well, and it had a great melody in my opinion. Still, I love listening to the album, but it doesn't hit me the way Continuum did. I remember listening to Continuum for the first time, I was driving my car, and after three songs, I parked it in a freeway rest-place because I didn't want to get distracted, and listened to the whole album two times. I kinda hoped Battle Studdies would transcend that experience. Who knows what time will bring.
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