John Mayer’s new album Sob Rock is set to drop in less than 24 hours, and ahead of then, he sat down for a big conversation about it with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. During their chat, he explained why he views the new album as a “sh*tpost.”
“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, which, for the first time in anyone’s lives, stopped the clock on hyper-modern day trade of culture. And so 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,’ right? And then I did what I thought was going to be antagonizing, and this is the most important part of the conversation, I think, creatively. You may just have to dress up your intentions to make something different. And call it by a name that no one else is going to call it after it’s made, and for me it was like, ‘I want to get in trouble. I want someone to tell me this is sh*t.’
And I made a record that, to me at the time, only in a way to coax something out of me that I wouldn’t have normally done, sh*tpost a record. It’s called Sob Rock because it’s a sh*tpost. But more importantly, it’s what I thought was a sh*tpost, and 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 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.”
He went on to say that part of the inspiration behind the album was his need to do something different, saying, “The reason you have to is because I never want to be that artist who runs out of paint colors and begins to just make the same songs over and over again. If you’re lucky enough to be 20 years in, you do have to deal with the fact that, wow, these paint colors they want me to use, it’s another blue painting. It’s another blue painting with a white stripe. It’s another blue painting with a white tree. It’s another blue painting with a white car. So for me, I’m only interested if I get to put new paints on the canvas. And if my way of doing it at this time was, literally no one’s looking. This one’s called Sob Rock because you just would never have imagined that was the name of the record.”
Watch the full interview above.
Sob Rock is out 7/16 via Columbia. Pre-order it here.