I’m a big fan of both of these guys, so I’ll try to keep the hipness factor out of my vote. I realize that appreciating John Mayer is not great for my street cred, but I think anybody who dismisses his musical chops or his songwriting ability is mistaken. Sure, the guy can be a smug prick and some of his songs veer too close to maudlin, but so many more are spot-on.
Just about anything would feel like a let-down after Sea Change, but in a way Guero reflects the lessons Beck learned making that album. It’s a more mature, reflective record, even as it indulges in street-smart hip-hop flourishes and oddball backing tracks. He seems more focused on this album, less likely to throw in everything including the kitchen sink. The result is one of his most consistent records, and one of his best.