John Mayer has released a new single, Last Train Home, taken from his long-awaited forthcoming album, Sob Rock, out 16 July.
Impeccably crafted, inspired by Toto, Last Train Home offers a one-way ticket back to the decade of aesthetic excess, shoulder pads, solid production values and meticulously processed electric guitar tones.
The promo video has everything Generation X needs for a pop-cultural madeleine moment. It features Mayer decked out in a leather jacket and playing a hot pink PRS Silver Sky, the soft airy pump of synths from Toto keys master Greg Phillinganes, percussion from his bandmate Lenny Castro, and Maren Morris pops up to offer some spectacular vocals as the song builds to a conclusion.
All the augurs had pointed to Mayer taking a retro-direction. Having completed Sob Rock back in March, he has been biding his time, teasing new music every now and again, popping up on TikTok with some snippets, and showcasing a new Crockett-and-Tubbs look on social media.
One look at the cover art would tell you that there was no way Sob Rock was going to be a 21st-century Delta blues recording, not with that colour palette.
Mayer and PRS has thus far been silent on the provenance of this new hot pink Silver Sky, but with Summer NAMM just around the corner, we might well see some fresh colour options – maybe some surf-friendly green or off-cyan colours to complement the pink? Time will tell.
Sob Rock will be Mayer’s first album in four years, and sounds like it will offer a very different vibe to the post-breakup palliatives of The Search For Everything.
Having dropped a heavily Toto-inspired track, with sumptuous clean tones and a fat overdrive for leads, it is intriguing where else Mayer will take sound on Sob Rock. His playing could work well in synth-heavy new-wave track a la Flock Of Seagulls.
Sob Rock is available to pre-save on Spotify, and you can sign up for alerts and more info at its pre-launch page. Mayer's calendar is steadily being filled. He hits the road in August with Dead & Company and is tipped to host a late night talk show on Paramount Plus.