Paradise Valley (album)

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Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley cover, by John Mayer.jpg
Studio album by John Mayer
Released August 20, 2013 (2013-08-20)
Recorded Electric Lady Studios
(New York City, New York)
The Village
(Los Angeles, California)
Berkeley Street Studio
(Santa Monica, California)
Ocean Way Recording
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Folk rock, country rock, Southern rock, Americana
Length 40:05
Label Columbia, Sony Music
Producer John Mayer, Don Was
John Mayer chronology
Born and Raised
Paradise Valley
Singles from Paradise Valley
  1. "Paper Doll"
    Released: June 18, 2013[1]
  2. "Wildfire"
    Released: July 16, 2013
  3. "Who You Love"
    Released: September 3, 2013[2]

Paradise Valley is the sixth studio album by musician John Mayer. Musically, it is similar to his previous album, Born and Raised, which was released in 2012. However, this album features more musical breaks and instrumentals consisting of electric guitars rather than harmonica. It was released on August 20, 2013. The album's title is derived from a major river valley of the Yellowstone River with the same name, located in southwestern Montana.[3]

The album's first single, "Paper Doll", was released on June 18, 2013,[1] followed by "Wildfire" on July 16, 2013. "Wildfire" officially impacted Triple A radio on August 20, 2013.[4] "Who You Love" was released as the third single, impacting Hot AC radio on September 3, 2013.[2]

On August 13, 2013, Paradise Valley became available to stream in its entirety via iTunes. One week later it became available for iTunes download.

Release and promotion[edit]

On August 19, 2013, Mayer went on the Late Show with David Letterman to promote the album by singing the second single from the release, "Wildfire". In addition, Mayer did a concert in the Live on Letterman series the same night, which is a web stream event.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 73/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
American Songwriter 2.5/5 stars [8]
Daily Express 4/5 stars[9]
The Gazette 3.5/5 stars[10]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[11]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[12]
The Oakland Press 3/4 stars[13]
RedEye 3/4 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[15]
USA Today 3/4 stars[16]

Paradise Valley garnered generally positive reception from music critics. Metacritic, a review-aggregator site which assigns a weighted average score based on a number of selected ratings and reviews from mainstream music critics, gave the album 73 out of 100.[6] Brian Mansfield of USA Today commented that the release "may have all the permanence of a summer camp fling".[16] Anthony DeCurtis, writing for Rolling Stone, noted that this release "continues that autobiographical journey" noticeable in Mayer's previous offerings, and showcases Mayer "in a relaxed, joyful frame of mind... Mayer continues to blow down the road, this time carrying far less baggage and all the better for it."[15] At The Oakland Press, Gary Graff noted that the album has an "anything-goes attitude", and felt Mayer had "turned in some of his most peaceful music yet."[13] Matt Collar of Allmusic felt that the sound on the album "rings true."[7] Los Angeles Times reviewer Randall Roberts wrote that "the musician is in charge here, and he keeps his peacocking in check", and that "The best part: When he does reveal his instrumental flair, he does so as someone whose natural-born skill warrants the display."[12]

Writing for the Daily Express, Stephen Unwin wrote that he felt the album needed "more oomph" and that it was "sometimes too formulaic", but that "Paradise Valley is certainly John Mayer on a good day."[9] Glenn Gamboa of Newsday graded the album a B-, and felt that "Mayer may still be a little lost", yet also felt that the release signals that Mayer "may soon find his way."[17] Writing for The Gazette, Mark LePage wrote that the album "is consolidation, soundly done", but felt that Mayer was "not advancing anything in the form", noting that "Paradise Valley is not without soul, but it never stings the way it could."[10] Craig Manning at AbsolutePunk rated the album an 85-percent, and stated it to be "still a solid set of songs that follows one of today's best songwriters as he establishes a new comfort zone."[18] At RedEye, Adam Lukach commented that Mayer's "soundscapes are sweetly arranged, and Mayer's voice, following his throat surgery, sounds as inviting as ever", but did note that this album "could benefit from a little more decisiveness."[14] Melinda Newman of HitFix graded the album an A-, and wrote that the release "has an unrushed, pleasing, timeless feel to it that never sounds forced."[19]

Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian wrote that Mayer may be "his own worst enemy".[11] Writing for the New York Post, Michaelangelo Matos said that the fact that "Mayer had throat surgery before recording this album," and that "it's understandable if he's relaxing", "doesn't make the songs any less dippy."[20] Matthew Horton of Virgin Media rated the album three-stars, and felt that "maybe we're right to be hesitant" about the album, and noted how stylistically "changes could be afoot with this sixth album."[21] Daily News's Jim Farber rated the album three stars, and said that this release "proves more successful than Mayer's last effort at nailing the styles that inspired it."[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 145,560 copies in the United States.[23] It is his first album since 2006's Continuum to not debut at #1.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by John Mayer unless noted below. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Wildfire"     4:15
2. "Dear Marie"     3:44
3. "Waitin' On the Day"     4:35
4. "Paper Doll"     4:19
5. "Call Me the Breeze" (JJ Cale cover) JJ Cale 3:27
6. "Who You Love" (featuring Katy Perry) Mayer, Katy Perry 4:12
7. "I Will Be Found (Lost at Sea)"     4:03
8. "Wildfire (Reprise)" (featuring Frank Ocean) Christopher Breaux,[7] J. Ryan Ho 1:28
9. "You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down"     2:48
10. "Badge and Gun"     3:15
11. "On the Way Home"     3:59
Total length:


  • John Mayer - vocals, guitars, keyboards, horn arrangements on track 6
  • Aaron Sterling - drums, percussion
  • Sean Hurley - bass
  • Chuck Leavell - keyboards on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11
  • Paul Franklin - pedal steel guitar on tracks 2, 9 and 11
  • Zane Carney - guitar on tracks 1 and 2
  • Rami Jaffee - keyboards on tracks 1 and 8
  • Lisa Fischer - background vocals on tracks 7 and 11
  • David Ryan Harris - background vocals on track 4
  • Bernard Fowler - background vocals on track 7
  • Frank Ocean - Wurlitzer, vocals on track 8
  • Katy Perry - vocals on track 6
  • Larry Williams - tenor saxophone, flute, horn arrangements on track 6
  • Dan Higgins - tenor saxophone, flute on track 6
  • Gary Grant - flugelhorn on track 6
  • Bill Reichenbach - tenor trombone, bass trombone, EB alto horn on track 6


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[25] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[26] 44
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[27] 1
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[28] 1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[29] 8
French Albums (SNEP)[30] 66
Irish Albums (IRMA)[31] 7
Italian Albums (FIMI)[32] 14
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[33] 2
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[34] 18
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[35] 17
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[36] 9
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[37] 4
UK Albums (OCC)[38] 4
US Billboard 200[39] 2
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[40] 1
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[41] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[42] 1
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[43] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Position
Dutch Albums Chart[44] 24
US Billboard 200 Albums[45] 96
US Top Rock Albums[46] 23
US Top Folk Albums[47] 5
Chart (2014) Position
US Top Rock Albums[48] 69
US Top Folk Albums[49] 7


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  2. ^ a b
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  4. ^ "John Mayer Attempts To Blaze Up Summer With ‘Wildfire,’ New Album "". 
  5. ^ John Mayer (August 19, 2013). "Live on Letterman – John Mayer". CBS and World Wide Pants. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
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  11. ^ a b Sullivan, Caroline (August 15, 2013). "John Mayer: Paradise Valley – review". The Guardian. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Randall (August 22, 2013). "Album review: John Mayer's redemptive 'Paradise Valley'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
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  14. ^ a b Adam, Lukach (August 19, 2013). "Album review: John Mayer, 'Paradise Valley'". RedEye. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
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  17. ^ Glenn, Glenn (August 16, 2013). "John Mayer's 'Paradise Valley' review: Still a charmer". Newsday. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  18. ^ Manning, Craig (August 18, 2013). "John Mayer - Paradise Valley". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
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  20. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (August 19, 2013). "Mayer phones one in". New York Post. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
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