Mother, Father, Brothers; what do they all have in common? “In The Blood”.
Taken off “The Search for Everything”, John Mayer’s latest release since “Paradise Valley” (2013), Mayer explores the themes of kinship, love and the inevitable familial traits that we inherit. “How much of my love will be insane to some degree? / Will I dim the lights inside me just to satisfy someone? / Does a broken home become another broken family?” these are some of the tough, honest questions Mayer starts reflecting on, although almost subtly certain to not conform to the undesirable inherent traits.
This song is very well written if you ask me. It provides lyrical depth that really pulls listeners into a ruminative time on their own familial relationships. We might even begin to ask ourselves, “how much am I a living reflection and shadow of my parents and upbringing?” That’s something that sometimes lacks on country radio.
With the song officially being sent to terrestrial radio by Sony Music Nashville’s Artista Nashville imprint, many listeners and those in the industry have expressed full support for this decision. After being advocated and played in late April by Bobby Bones; host of the nationally syndicated radio show “The Bobby Bones Show”, and later Sirius XM’s “The Highway”, I wasn’t surprised at all when news was made official on Monday by ads on the weekly industry trades. But, with radio stations being inundated with new singles from (country) acts weekly, not everyone has been fully supportive of this move.
Is it country? Why is John Mayer on country radio? What about Jason Isbell? Is he not country? Aren’t there enough acts vying for that coveted 3-4 mins of airplay? These are just some of the many questions that have surfaced.
I can dissect the meaning of “country” and we can talk about how deserving or undeserving Mayer and/or other country acts are of air play on country radio– but that’s a whole other discussion for another day. But here at CMchat, we / I believe “country music” simply = songs that unfold real-life stories. At the very core, there is a vulnerable, relatable story element narrated in “Blood”. Having a playlist sometimes filled with light-hearted songs about partying, making out, drinking and young love isn’t a bad thing at all. Life’s already hectic and it sure is great to hear feel-good tracks for however long we listen to the radio on our daily commute.
However, “In The Blood” provides a breath of fresh air to the what’s on the radio today. Of course, program directors might play it minimally (or not at all) and owe it to the fact that it’s a “mid-tempo, deep song”, or abysmal listener research and radio surveys. What Sony is doing, however, is merely catering to a demand. With a rate of 28.07 sales per spin and daily sales increase of 288% last week alone, which label wouldn’t let this song dip its toes into the another format, even for just a bit? Ultimately, how far the song goes and how far up the chart it goes is up to the discretion of the stations’ staff, anyway.
But we at CMchat are full advocates of this song on country radio and the fact that it tackles such veracious matters of the heart.
While the future is in our hands (or at least that’s what we’re told), sometimes we grow up thinking, believing and acting a certain way. Do we, then, succumb and point the reasons for our actions to the attributes we inherit or do we try our best to create our own path, stray a little from the familial norm and “rise above the flood”? The choice is ours.
Click pic to get John Mayer “In The Blood” on iTunes.