Battle Studies (album)

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Battle Studies
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 17, 2009
RecordedFebruary–August 2009
GenrePop rock[1]
John Mayer chronology
Battle Studies
Born and Raised
Singles from Battle Studies
  1. "Who Says"
    Released: October 13, 2009
  2. "Heartbreak Warfare"
    Released: October 19, 2009
  3. "Half of My Heart"
    Released: June 21, 2010
  4. "Perfectly Lonely"
    Released: November 13, 2010

Battle Studies is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter John Mayer, released on November 17, 2009 by Columbia Records. Production took place from February to August 2009 at Battle Studies recording studio in Calabasas, California, Capitol Studios in Hollywood, and The Village in West Los Angeles, California, and was handled by Mayer and Steve Jordan.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling over 286,000 copies in its first week of sales. It achieved successful sales in several other countries and produced two singles that attained chart success. Battle Studies received positive reviews from critics, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, having sold over 880,000 copies in the United States.


After the overwhelming success of Continuum, Mayer confessed to being intimidated about starting on a new album, however he didn't want too much time to pass without making new music. Speaking on his motivation to move on, he said "I think it got a lot easier when I realised that no matter what I do, it's not going to be Continuum, good or bad. And then that became really liberating."[2] On October 1, 2009, Mayer posted via Twitter: "Track listing on Battle Studies is complete! Very interesting order... 11 songs. 45 minutes. Hit 'em hard and get out."[3]

The album was leaked just hours before Mayer was scheduled to perform an official "radio leak" on 103.7 Sophie in San Diego.[4] However, Mayer gave his listeners permission to download the leak, as long as they "registered" their copies by ordering the album.[5]

Mayer's 2010 Battle Studies World Tour began on February 4, 2010 in Sunrise, Florida at the BB&T Center, and ended on October 1, 2010 in Manila, Philippines, at SM Mall of Asia.


According to Mayer's official Twitter profile, "Who Says" was the first single from the album and[6] was released for preview on September 25, 2009 at The official release for the single was on October 13, 2009.

The second single was "Heartbreak Warfare", which was previewed on October 19, 2009. The first ever augmented reality video accompanied the second single, which was released on Mayer's website.

The third single was "Half of My Heart", which was released for radio airplay on June 21, 2010.

The fourth single was "Perfectly Lonely", which was released on November 13, 2010.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[9]
The Guardian2/5 stars[10]
The Independent3/5 stars[11]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[12]
Mojo4/5 stars[13]
Q3/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[15]
Slant Magazine1.5/5 stars[16]

Battle Studies received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 64, based on 17 reviews.[18] Mojo complimented its musical "breadth" and said that the playing is "unfussily superb throughout."[13] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine commended Mayer for his musicianship, despite a reliance on "texture".[8] The Boston Globe's Sarah Rodman wrote that he "continues to strip away the twinkly radio lacquer of his earlier work without sacrificing his pop sensibilities".[19] Jackie Hayden of Hot Press called it a "classy pop opus for grown-ups".[20] Although he felt the album lacked depth, Alex Silveri of Sputnikmusic commended Mayer's "knack for dealing with universal themes in thoroughly down to earth ways, and without the layering of pop cheese that so many of his contemporaries indulge in".[17] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called the album "an expertly calibrated study in soft-pedal confessions, searching lyricism, and mildly groovy guitar licks."[9] MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)). He cited "War of My Life" and "Perfectly Lonely" as highlights and quipped, "Same kind of problems as Ben Gibbard, only more concise about them (which doesn't necessarily mean smarter, y'know)".[21]

In a mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent found Mayer's lyrics "ultimately tiresome".[11] Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times said that, "for the most part, he expresses himself more eloquently through his guitar than his lyrics".[12] Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis found the album "laden with laughable romantic-schlock lyrics and trite, sappy melodies".[22] Tom Hughes of The Guardian wrote that "Mayer's talents are obvious, but there's so much more cheese than charm here that he would seem like a hard sell outside the Billboard heartland".[10] The Village Voice columnist Zach Baron stated that it "somehow avoids including any of the myriad things that actually make John Mayer interesting".[23] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that "the album highlights the extremely blatant chasm between John Mayer the musician and John Mayer the public character, a divide Mr. Mayer said he was eager to maintain".[24] Edna Gundersen of USA Today stated that "there's seldom a cease-fire during Mayer's earnest, solemn musings on romance. While his guitar chops are impeccable on this well-crafted blues-pop album, the gravity and cautious noodling cry out for some input from that other Mayer: his cunning, irreverent public persona."[25]

The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album but lost to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster, while Half of My Heart was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance but lost to Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are".[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold 286,000 copies in its first week.[27] In its second week, it sold an additional 93,000 copies and fell to number 13 on the Billboard chart.[28]As of April 2010, the album has sold 880,000 copies in the United States.[29] On July 29, 2010, Battle Studies was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the US.[30]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Mayer, except where noted.

  1. "Heartbreak Warfare" – 4:30
  2. "All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye" – 4:35
  3. "Half of My Heart" (featuring Taylor Swift) – 4:10
  4. "Who Says" – 2:56
  5. "Perfectly Lonely" – 4:28
  6. "Assassin" – 5:14
  7. "Crossroads" (Robert Johnson) – 2:29
  8. "War of My Life" – 4:15
  9. "Edge of Desire" – 5:32
  10. "Do You Know Me" – 2:30
  11. "Friends, Lovers or Nothing" – 5:59
iTunes bonus track version
  1. "I'm on Fire" (Bruce Springsteen) – 2:52

Expanded edition[edit]

Battle Studies was later released in a CD/DVD "expanded edition", which added Mayer's VH1 Storytellers episode plus two intimate acoustic performances from his personal travels to Japan in May 2010. The DVD runs for approximately 50 minutes, and the track listing is as follows.

VH1 Storytellers

  1. "No Such Thing"
  2. "Daughters"
  3. "Heartbreak Warfare"
  4. "Your Body Is a Wonderland"
  5. "Who Says"
  6. "Waiting on the World to Change"
  7. "Half of My Heart"

A Trip to Japan Alone

  1. "Half of My Heart"
  2. "Who Says"


Additional personnel

  • Jeri Heiden – art direction; graphic design
  • Albert Watson – photography
  • Gari Askew – photography
  • Carlos Hurtado – tracking

Chart positions[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[33] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Platinum 80,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[35] 2× Platinum 40,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[36] Gold 25,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[37] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[39] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ John Mayer - Battle Studies CD
  2. ^ Taylor, Mick (May 21, 2010), "John Mayer interview". Music Radar. March 29, 2015.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Try JM – A collection of news and notes about John Mayer " Maintenance Mode". Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "John Mayer on Twitter: "Battle Studies will be released..."". Twitter. August 24, 2009. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2009.
  7. ^ "Battle Studies by John Mayer". Metacritic. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Battle Studies - John Mayer". AllMusic. Retrieved November 22, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah (November 11, 2009). "Battle Studies Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Hughes, Tom (November 19, 2009). "John Mayer: Battle Studies". The Guardian. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Gill, Andy (November 13, 2009). "Album: John Mayer, Battle Studies, (Columbia)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Lewis, Randy (November 16, 2009). "Album review: John Mayer's 'Battle Studies'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "John Mayer, 'Battle Studies' (Columbia)". Mojo. Bauer: 90. January 2010.
  14. ^ "Review: Battle Studies". Q. London: 120. January 2010.
  15. ^ Rosen, Jody (November 10, 2009). "John Mayer: Battle Studies". Rolling Stone. Music Reviews. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  16. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (November 22, 2009). "John Mayer: Battle Studies". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Silveri, Alex (November 17, 2009). "John Mayer – Battle Studies (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "Critic Reviews for Battle Studies". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 20, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
  19. ^ Rodman, Sarah (November 17, 2009). "Mayer gets intimate in 'Battle Studies'". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 20, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  20. ^ Hayden, Jackie. "Battle Studies". Hot Press: December 14, 2009.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Rating specified at Christgau's website. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  22. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (November 11, 2009). "New albums from John Mayer and Norah Jones". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  23. ^ Baron, Zach (November 25, 2009). "John Mayer Is #1; 50 Cent Is Definitely Not" Archived November 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. The Village Voice. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
  24. ^ Caramanica, Jon (November 20, 2009). "John Mayer Just Has to Please the Girls". The New York Times. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
  25. ^ Gundersen, Edna (November 20, 2009). "John Mayer, Battle Studies: Blues, Not Amused". USA Today. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  26. ^ "53rd annual, Grammy awards: The winners list". The Marquee Blog. CNN. February 13, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  27. ^ Sisario, Ben. John Mayer Is No. 1 in Pre-Holiday Week. The New York Times. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
  28. ^ Sisario, Ben. Susan Boyle, Top Seller, Shakes Up CD Trends. The New York Times. Retrieved on December 28, 2009.
  29. ^ Herrera, Monica. "John Mayer's Sexually, Racially Charged Playboy Interview Sparks Outrage"
  30. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  31. ^ ":: MTV | Album Top 50 KW 2 | charts". September 22, 2011. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  32. ^ "Best of 2010 – Billboard Top 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – John Mayer – Battle Studies". Music Canada.
  35. ^ "Danish album certifications – John Mayer – Battle Studies". IFPI Denmark. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2018 to obtain certification.
  36. ^ "Dutch album certifications – John Mayer – Battle Studies" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Battle Studies in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  37. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Albums". Radioscope. July 17, 2011. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011.
  38. ^ "British album certifications – John Mayer – Battle Studies". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Battle Studies in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "American album certifications – John Mayer – Battle Studies". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]