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Room for Squares

Room for Squares is the first major-label album by John Mayer, released commercially on September 18, 2001.

Production

The album's title is an inside joke/reference to Hank Mobley's No Room for Squares album. All songs from the album were written by Mayer; however, three of the songs, "No Such Thing", "Neon", and "Love Song for No One", were all co-written with Clay Cook, with whom Mayer had a duo group known as "The LoFi Masters."

Through constant shows, including in the Atlanta-area Eddie's Attic, Mayer's reputation began to build, and a March 2000 appearance at the South by Southwest Music Festival brought him to the attention of "launch" label, Aware Records. After including him in the Aware Festival concerts and having his songs included on Aware compilations, in early 2001, Aware released Room for Squares as an internet-only album. During that time, Aware inked a deal with Columbia Records that gave Columbia first pick in signing Aware artists, and so in September of the same year, Columbia remixed and re-released Room for Squares. As part of the major label "debut", the album's artwork was updated, and the track "3x5" was added, which didn't appear on the original as the recording wasn't yet complete at the time. The re-release also included reworked studio versions of the first four songs from his indie album, Inside Wants Out. The cover art for the most recent release of Room for Squares features a periodic table design beginning from the back cover which continues to the front cover, ending at the right-side.

The album was relatively unknown at its time of release, but it became more well-known through word of mouth and John's touring. By the end of 2002, Room for Squares had spawned several radio hits, including "No Such Thing", "Your Body Is a Wonderland", and ultimately, "Why Georgia" (a radio-only single).

Reception

Critical

Anthony Decurtis (with Rolling Stone) gave the album four out of five stars, calling it "irresistible". PopMatters gave an unfavorable review, saying "It doesn't offend, nor does it attempt to make itself too exciting for the most part.

By the end of 2002, Room for Squares had spawned several radio hits, including, "No Such Thing," "Your Body Is a Wonderland," and, ultimately, "Why Georgia", which was released as a CD single six weeks before the follow-up album, Heavier Things, was released in 2003.

In 2003, Mayer won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Your Body Is a Wonderland”. In his acceptance speech he remarked, “This is very, very fast, and I promise to catch up.” He also figuratively referred to himself as being sixteen, a remark that many mistook to mean that he was only sixteen years old at the time.

Commercial

Chart positions and certifications

USA

  • Chart peak position: #8
  • 4x Platinum

Australia

  • Chart peak position: #5
  • 2x Platinum

Track listing

All songs written by John Mayer, except where noted otherwise.

Aware release

This release was produced and packaged by Aware Records and released June 5, 2001.

  1. "No Such Thing" (John Mayer, Clay Cook) – 3:51
  2. "Why Georgia" – 4:28
  3. "My Stupid Mouth" – 3:45
  4. "Your Body Is a Wonderland" – 4:09
  5. "Neon" (Mayer, Cook) – 4:22
  6. "City Love" – 4:00
  7. "83" - 4:51
  8. "Love Song for No One" (Mayer, Cook) – 3:21
  9. "Back to You" – 4:01
  10. "Great Indoors" – 3:36
  11. "Not Myself" – 3:36
  12. "St. Patrick's Day" – 5:21

Columbia re-release

Following this independent release through a joint deal between Aware Records and Columbia Records, the album was remixed, reproduced. The album was released on Columbia Records on September 18, 2001. This release, in contrast to the initial release, has the triskaidekaphobic (i.e. fear of the number 13) omission of track thirteen and includes the song "3x5", which wasn't complete when the Aware version was released. Another difference is that the cover (as indicated in the information box to the right) was redesigned predominantly in white with a wider shot of Mayer with his guitar in the background.

  1. "No Such Thing" (John Mayer, Clay Cook) – 3:51
  2. "Why Georgia" – 4:28
  3. "My Stupid Mouth" – 3:45
  4. "Your Body Is a Wonderland" – 4:09
  5. "Neon" (Mayer, Cook) – 4:22
  6. "City Love" – 4:00
  7. "83" – 4:50
  8. "3x5" – 4:50
  9. "Love Song For No One" (Mayer, Cook) – 3:21
  10. "Back To You" – 4:01
  11. "Great Indoors" – 3:36
  12. "Not Myself" – 3:36
  13. (blank) – 0:00
  14. "St. Patrick's Day" – 5:21

Bonus disc

A bonus disc for Room for Squares was released along with the Columbia re-release. It was released in the U.S., but wasn't released internationally. Internationally, these two songs were included as B-sides on the singles from the album.

  1. "Lenny" (Stevie Ray Vaughan) (Live at the X Lounge)
  2. "The Wind Cries Mary" (Jimi Hendrix) (Live at the X Lounge)

Personnel

The following personnel worked in the studio on the album:

  • John Mayer: vocals, lead guitar, piano, keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, Omnichord
  • John Alagia: guitar, Hammond B-3 organ, percussion, bells
  • David Davidson, David Angel: violin
  • Kristin Wilkinson: viola
  • Carol Rabinowitz: cello
  • Jon Catchings: cello
  • Brandon Bush: Wurlitzer piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Mellotron
  • David LaBruyere: bass
  • Nir Z: drums, percussion, loops
  • Jerry Marotta: drums
  • Chris Fischer: congas
  • Clay Cook: background vocals
  • Doug Derryberry: background vocals

References


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