Loud releases: John Meyer and Yellowcard

Cover of Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue Acoustic.

Paradise Valley

John Mayer

While on-again girlfriend Katy Perry storms back on radio with the anthemic Roar, Mayer ambles along with the country vibes that he explored in earnest with his last album, Born and Raised.

The contemplative mood he's been in of late is still present here, though the cynicism is gone.

On the song Dear Marie, he sings to an old girlfriend about the different lives they've led - "Yeah I've got my dream, but you've got family / I've got my dream, but I guess it got away from me".

The purported Taylor Swift takedown, Paper Doll, sounds less like a musical hit job than a languid, regret-filled walk down memory lane.

His duet with Perry, Who You Love, is a clicheand drama-free ode to each other, and Perry, stripped of all her usual pop production, sounds amazing.

A wonderfully light, palate-cleansing album.

OCEAN AVENUE ACOUSTIC

Yellowcard

Yellowcard fans would not want to miss this for the world.

Ocean Avenue Acoustic, a stripped-down version of their 2003 multi-platinum selling album of the same title, is testament to how mature the Florida pop-punk outfit have grown in the last decade.

With hits like Only One and Way Away given the acoustic treatment, the quintet show that not only can they infect you with their boundless energy and angst, they are in top form too when it comes to channelling vulnerability and subtle emotions.

My favourite songs are Empty Apartment, which paints a sad, depressing picture of loneliness, and View From Heaven, a delightful folksy ditty that uses the banjo to amazing effect.

One of the best things about acoustic reworked numbers is that each musical instrument gets a chance to shine. On the original record, violinist Sean Mackin's playing gets buried at times, but not on this album.

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