John Mayer has released Sob Rock—his eighth studio album and first since 2017’s The Search For Everything—and announced a lengthy string of 2022 tour dates in support of the new release.
Sob Rock, available on streaming platforms today via Columbia Records, was co-produced by Mayer and Don Was and recorded at Henson Studios in Los Angeles.
Not one to do anything halfway, however, Mayer went above and beyond in crafting a stylistic and thematic aesthetic on the new record, from the sound and feel of the material to the gleefully self-effacing, actively outdated marketing campaign he’s been waging for months in the run-up to the release—both in real life and on TikTok.
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The LP features ten tracks including “New Light” the standalone single that became a chart-topper for Mayer back in 2018. Other previously released songs appearing on Sob Rock include “I Guess I Just Feel Like” and “Carry Me Away“.
Along with the album’s release on Friday, Mayer released a new music video for “Shot in the Dark” and performed a pair of songs for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Watch the new video and stream Sob Rock in its entirety below.
John Mayer – Sob Rock – Full Album
John Mayer – “Shot in the Dark” (Official Video)
[Video: John Mayer]
To accompany the album’s release, John Mayer has also announced the Sob Rock Tour for 2022, set to make 20+ arena stops across North America next February, March, and April. See below for a full list of Sob Rock Tour dates.A signup to access pre-sale tickets for the tour via seated is now available here. Fans can register until Tuesday, July 20th, at 9:45 a.m. local time. Seated pre-sales start Tuesday, July 20th at 10 a.m. local time and run through Wednesday, July 21st, at 10 p.m. local time.
A limited number of VIP packages will be available starting Tuesday, July 20th, at 10 a.m. local offering premium seats, pre-show ‘Sob Rock Lounge’ access, exclusive merchandise, and more.
Two pairs of front-row tickets will be auctioned off for each show on the tour through Charity Auctions Today. All proceeds from the ticket auctions will go to the Back To You Fund, which has supported many charities, including John’s Heart & Armor Foundation, in addition to programs supporting at-risk youth and the homeless.
Tickets for the John Mayer Sob Rock tour will go on sale to the general public starting Friday, July 23rd at 11 a.m. local time here.
John Mayer Sob Rock Tour 2022 Dates
Thu Feb 17 – Albany, NY – Times Union Center
Fri Feb 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Sun Feb 20 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Wed Feb 23 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Fri Feb 25 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
Sun Feb 27 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Tue Mar 01 – Belmont Park, NY – UBS Arena
Fri Mar 04 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Fri Mar 11 – Las Vegas, NV – Grand Garden Arena
Sun Mar 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Forum
Tue Mar 15 – Los Angeles, CA – Forum
Fri Mar 18 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Tue Mar 22 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Fri Mar 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Vivint Arena
Sun Mar 27 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Sat Apr 02 – Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center
Tue Apr 05 – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
Fri Apr 08 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Mon Apr 11 – Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center
Wed Apr 13 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Wed Apr 20 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Sat Apr 23 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Sun Apr 24 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Thu Apr 28 – Chicago, IL – United Center
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Earlier this week, John Mayer sat down with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe to discuss the many layers of creative concepts and exercises that resulted in this classic ’80s album with a ridiculous name that somehow only just came out in 2021.
“I don’t really make records unless I’ve caught a new mission statement for what the music should be, what the message should be,” Mayer explained. “The reason my records are all different, sort of, thematically, is I just have to wait until I catch a new script idea. I’m beginning to look at what I do more like a film director, not to be artsy fartsy.”
He went on to explain how Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood influenced his direction on Sob Rock “in terms of it being an artistic achievement.” He hoped to similarly channel the milieu of a bygone era with his new record. Likening his station in the music world to a director with some tenure (or, as the kids would say, “clout”), he hoped listeners would be interested enough in the fact that he was taking on a unique kind of project—a reverent throwback to the soft rock stylings and of the ’80s through the lens of intentionally vulnerable songs of love and loss.
“The idea of Sob Rock is that it might have been something that already happened, but when you go looking, it’s not. The idea of Sob Rock is to implant false memories into your brain. That’s what it did for me. … It’s out of my brain and it’s out of everyone’s shared Mandela effect. Can you have memories that never happened to you? Can you go back and synthesize a piece of work that’s so true to the era that when you hear it your brain goes ‘no, no, no, this exists.'”
That directive, he explained, was something he had picked up through his work with Dead & Company. Rather than striving to be the shiny object, he now aims to be a part of transporting listeners to something different, something bigger. He likened being in Dead & Company to being an actor in a new Star Wars film: nobody is the “star” of the new Star Wars film. All of those actors get to be in a Star Wars film. “I no longer want to be the thing,” he mused. “I just want to have access to the thing.” That mentality helped guide his commitment to the artistic framework of Sob Rock.
Mayer went into the studio with a set crop of ten songs for the record (“That’s the script,” he added, continuing the film director metaphor), but several—like brutal yet childlike “Why You No Love Me”—went through numerous version and revisions. He set various rules for the tracks: “When I was making the record, the idea was that I was getting somewhere if I laughed. Not because it’s hilarious and it’s insincere and it’s joke-y. It’s not expected. … Get sweet, but never sappy. … Do I believe this or am I full of shit? … This record is demonstratively sweet and luscious and melodic and colorful, but it’s never to the point—and I like to teeter on that line—where it gets cloying and syrupy. And, by the way, [that’s] easy to do when you’re doing quote-unquote ’80s’ music.”
Script in hand, he hired some familiar character actors like Toto veterans Lenny Castro (percussion) and Greg Phillinganes (keys), who both appear on “Last Train Home“. Thinking like Scorsese casting De Niro in his next mafia flick, Mayer surmised, why get somebody to sound like Greg Phillinganes when you can get the actual Greg Phillinganes?
“What I would love other people to understand is that there is no more reason to have to adhere to any given idea of ‘cool,’ especially post-pandemic,” he continued. “For me, I went, ‘Well, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do and in fact, I can make a record that’s in some way provocative, if not antagonizing. And then I did what I thought was going to be antagonizing—and this, I think, is the most important part of the conversation creatively: you may just need to dress up your intentions to make something different and call it by a name that nobody else is gonna call it after it’s made.”
Mayer continued on the album’s puzzling yet prescient name, “For me it was like, ‘I wanna get in trouble. I want someone to tell me this is sh*t.’ And I made a record that to me, at the time, was shitpost a record. It’s called Sob Rock because it’s a shitpost. But more importantly, it’s what I thought was a shitpost. This gets down to where artists sit in front of you and play you what they think is their garbage, and you go, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard you play’ … It makes a mockery of their interpretation of the experience, which is just enough to break out of the mold and make something unique.”
In the end, however, the veil of mischief in mind for Mayer allowed him to connect with Sob Rock as a listener once he had finished. “What if you don’t know it’s real while you’re doing it,” he pondered, “and then you listen back and realize it’s real. It happened on this record. I thought I was joking. I thought I was kidding.” Watch the full interview below.
John Mayer Talks Sob Rock, Implanting False Memories, & More w/ Zane Lowe
[Video: Apple Music]