Born and Raised
In recent years, Mayer has had some heavy issues to deal with on the personal side. He's been trying to address some vocal cord problems with a treatment requiring him to not sing for an extended period of time. His parents also separated and divorced, a difficult situation for a child of any age. It's no suprise, therefore, that Born and Raised is full of introspection and seriousness. "Then all at once it gets hard to take/It gets hard to fake what I won't be," Mayer sings on the album's title cut, with backing vocals by no less David Crosby and Graham Nash.
Musically, Mayer is a little more in the straightforward singer/songwriter vein of his early albums, with a lovely attention to craft and a sound that is polished without being slick. Also showing up to help out is Sara Watkins, Chuck Leavell, and trumpeter Chris Botti. But despite the shadows and worry depicted in the lyrics (as in the songs "Shadow Days" and "The Age of Worry," for example), Mayer ultimately comes out on the other side with optimism. In "The Age of Worry," he concludes, "Rage in the age of worry/Act your age in the age of worry/And say worry, get out of here."