John Mayer - Battle Studies

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Posted on Wed, 10/01/2014 - 9:27pm
by John MacMillan

Member since: Tue, 01/07/2014

Release Type

Studio Album

Release Year


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Album Overview

Battle Studies is the fourth studio album by American recording artist John Mayer, released November 17, 2009 on Columbia Records in the United States. Production for the album took place during 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 chart, selling 286,000 copies in its first week. It achieved successful sales in several other countries and produced two singles that attained chart success. Upon its release, Battle Studies received positive reviews from most music critics. The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and has sold 880,000 copies in the United States.


1Heartbreak Warfare4:30

Keyboards: Jamie Muhoberac

2All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye4:35

Guitar: Robbie McIntosh

3Half Of My Heart4:10

Acoustic Guitar: Waddy Wachtel
Vocals: Taylor Swift

4Who Says2:56

Organ [Pump], Celesta: Ian McLagan

5Perfectly Lonely4:28

Organ [Hammond B-3], Electric Piano [Wurlitzer]: Ian McLagan


Written-By: Robert Johnson

8War Of My Life4:15

Electric Piano [Wurlitzer]: Ian McLagan

9Edge Of Desire5:32

Keyboards: Jamie Muhoberac
Organ [Hammond B-3]: Ian McLagan

10Do You Know Me2:30

Piano: Ian McLagan

11Friends, Lovers Or Nothing5:59

Piano, Organ [Hammond B-3]: Ian McLagan
Saxophone: Bob Reynolds
Trumpet: Bryan Lipps


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." 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."

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

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 was released for preview on September 25, 2009 on John Mayer's website. 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.

Commercial Performance

The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold 286,000 copies in its first week. In its second week, it sold an additional 93,000 copies and fell to number 13 on the Billboard chart.As of April 2010, the album has sold 880,000 copies in the United States. 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.

Critical Reception

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. Mojo complimented its musical "breadth" and said that the playing is "unfussily superb throughout." Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine commended Mayer for his musicianship, despite a reliance on "texture". 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". Jackie Hayden of Hot Press called it a "classy pop opus for grown-ups". 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". Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called the album "an expertly calibrated study in soft-pedal confessions, searching lyricism, and mildly groovy guitar licks." MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave the album a two-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)".

In a mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent found Mayer's lyrics "ultimately tiresome". Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times said that, "for the most part, he expresses himself more eloquently through his guitar than his lyrics". Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis found the album "laden with laughable romantic-schlock lyrics and trite, sappy melodies". 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". The Village Voice columnist Zach Baron stated that it "somehow avoids including any of the myriad things that actually make John Mayer interesting". 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". 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."

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.

Track listing

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

Battle Studies was later released in a CD/DVD "expanded edition", which added John'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"


Artwork: Jeri Heiden
Bass Guitar: Pino Palladino
Drums, Producer: Steve Jordan
Edited By: Martin Pradler
Engineer: Chad Franscoviak
Engineer [Assistant]: Charlie Paakkari
Engineer [Assistant]: Ghian Wright
Engineer [Assistant]: Justin Gerrish
Mastered By: Greg Calbi
Mixed By: Joe Ferla
Mixed By: Manny Marroquin
Mixed By: Michael H. Brauer
Mixed By [Assistant]: Christian Plata
Mixed By [Assistant]: Erik Madrid
Mixed By [Assistant]: Justin Gerrish
Mixed By [Assistant]: Ryan Gilligan
Percussion: Steve Jordan
Photography By: Albert Watson
Photography By [In-studio]: Gari Lamar Askew
Vocals, Guitar, Producer, Artwork By: John Mayer
Written-By: John Mayer