Heavier Things

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Heavier Things
Studio album by John Mayer
Released September 9, 2003
Recorded Avatar Studios
(New York, New York)
Ocean Way Recording
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Soft rock,[1] pop[2]
Length 45:33
Label Aware, Columbia
CK 86185
Producer Jack Joseph Puig
John Mayer chronology
Room for Squares
(2001)Room for Squares2001
Heavier Things
Singles from Heavier Things
  1. "Bigger Than My Body"
    Released: August 25, 2003
  2. "Clarity"
    Released: April 12, 2004
  3. "Daughters"
    Released: September 28, 2004

Heavier Things is the second studio album by American musician John Mayer, released September 9, 2003 on Columbia Records in the United States. The title of the album itself is a subtle response to certain criticism of Mayer's music.[citation needed]

The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 317,000 copies in its first week.[3] Despite some negative criticism towards Mayer's songwriting, Heavier Things received generally positive reviews from music critics.


There's a certain swing-for-the-fences feel and a hurried nature that I think you have when you're making your first record and have much to prove. Now that I'm in a higher gear, I don't have to press so hard on the gas, and I'm loving it.
John Mayer, Billboard, 2003[4]

Mayer felt he could be more relaxed and focus more on his art while making Heavier Things. With Jack Joseph Puig as producer, loops and horns were more prominently featured.[4] Mayer took greater control of the creative side with this album; much of the album was recorded in his New York City apartment.[5] He also got final approval on all radio-edits.[4]

Columbia Records used a conservative marketing campaign to promote the album. Columbia Records Group president Will Botwin says. "We think we're being smart. It's a long-term project. We understand what we're creating is a career. Effectively, that's the message: Keep the hype at bay."[4] In keeping with that gameplan, the album's first single, "Bigger Than My Body", only went to radio a few weeks before the album's release; promotional broadcasts of the album were limited to MTV.com and Mayer's official site, both of whom began streaming the complete album the September 2 before its release. Scheduled television appearances included Saturday Night Live on Oct. 4 and several late shows.[4]Columbia Records thought it was important to put Mayer in talk show-type scenarios before the album release to help bring focus to his art and to his singer/songwriter career; to steer away from the fame and celebrity hype.[6]


Despite being "delayed" on the radio, the lead single "Bigger Than My Body" gained commercial and critical success. "Clarity" was the second single released from Heavier Things. Although the song usually receives rare radioplay, it is one of Mayer's fan favorites, and is normally performed at Mayer's concerts. The song received very positive reviews from critics, mostly being praised for its relaxing style and beat.

"Daughters" was the last single released from Heavier Things. The song has become a huge commercial success, and has received largely positive reviews: many critics have hailed the song as Mayer's best yet.


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[7]
Blender 3/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly C+[9]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[10]
PopMatters 6/10[11][12]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention)[13]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[14]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[15]
Spin 5/10[12]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[16]

Upon its release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics; it holds an aggregate score of 67/100 at Metacritic.[12] Billboard magazine stated that it "firmly establishes him as a legitimate--albeit still puppy-eyed--singer/songwriter."[17] Chicago Tribune writer Allison Stewart gave the album a favorable review and wrote that Mayer "[has] crafted a sturdy, soulful pop album that credibly expands upon — but never abandons — his core sound".[2] Despite writing that "his self-conscious lyrics can get in the way", Russell Baillie of The New Zealand Herald praised Mayer's musicianship and gave the album 4 out of 5 stars.[18] Rolling Stone magazine's James Hunter called Heavier Things an "equally available yet more sophisticated album" than Room for Squares.[14] In his own review for Esquire, Mayer gave the album a "B minus", adding, "Am I the only one who finds this record creepy to make out to?"[19] Spin said, "Sadly, Mayer's idea of a good time involves hiring jazz musicians to make himself sound like '80s James Taylor."[12]


Mayer earned his first number-one single with "Daughters" as well as a 2005 Grammy for Song of the Year, beating out fellow contenders Alicia Keys and Kanye West. He dedicated the award to his grandmother, Annie Hoffman, who died in May 2004. He also won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, beating Elvis Costello, Prince, and Seal for the award. At the 37th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2006, Mayer was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by John Mayer except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Clarity"   4:28
2. "Bigger Than My Body"   4:26
3. "Something's Missing"   5:04
4. "New Deep"   4:07
5. "Come Back to Bed"   5:23
6. "Home Life" Mayer, David LaBruyere 4:14
7. "Split Screen Sadness"   5:06
8. "Daughters"   3:58
9. "Only Heart"   3:52
10. "Wheel"   5:33


Beginning on July 2, 2004, Mayer went on a 42-date tour with Maroon 5.[21] see also: Heavier Things Tour


Main musicians


Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Metamorphosis by Hilary Duff
U.S. Billboard 200 number-one album
September 21, 2003 - September 27, 2003
Succeeded by
Grand Champ by DMX

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hilburn, Robert (September 18, 2003). "'Heavier Things' rises to the top". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Stewart, Allison. "RECORDINGS". Chicago Tribune: 3. September 15, 2003.
  3. ^ Caulfield, Keith. "John Mayer Snares No. 1 on Busy Billboard 200". billboard.com. November 25, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d e Newman, Melinda; Whitmire, Margo. (2003-09-13), "John Mayer Gets Heavy". Billboard. 115 (37):1-14
  5. ^ Eliscu, Jenny (2003-11-27), "Songs in the Key of Mayer". Rolling Stone. (936):52-56
  6. ^ http://search.proquest.com/docview/992608
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Heavier Things - John Mayer". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  8. ^ Powers, Ann. "John Mayer: Heavier Things". Blender. Retrieved on 2009-12-29. Archived December 13, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Sinclair, Tom (2003-09-12). "Heavier Things Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  10. ^ Hilburn, Robert (2003-09-07). "Mayer's 'Heavier Things' not quite weighty enough". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  11. ^ MacNeil, Jason (2003-12-02). "John Mayer: Heavier Things". PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  12. ^ a b c d "Critic Reviews for Heavier Things". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: John Mayer". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  14. ^ a b Hunter, James (2003-09-09). "Heavier Things". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  15. ^ Blanford, Roxanne (2003-09-10). "John Mayer: Heavier Things". Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  16. ^ Gardner, Elysa (2003-09-08). "Mayer's 'Heavier Things' has artistic heft". USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  17. ^ Ault, Susanne; Paoletta, Michael (2003-09-13), "Heavier Things". Billboard. 115 (37):33
  18. ^ Baillie, Russell. "John Mayer: Heavier Things". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  19. ^ Mayer, John (June 2004), "THE RESIDENT ROCK STAR". Esquire. 141 (6):48
  20. ^ (2006). John Mayer SongWritersHallofFame.org. Retrieved on September 29, 2006.
  21. ^ Ault, Susanne (May 1, 2004), "Mayer Hits Groove On The Road". Billboard. 116 (18):26
  22. ^ "Aria: 2x Platinum – 2011". Aria. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Muisc Canada: Gold & Platinum – March 2004". Music Canada. Retrieved March 30, 2004. 
  24. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved 2009-12-14. 

External links[edit]