Review: John Mayer – ‘Last Train Home’

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Though it does not transcend its homage, the explicit inspirations of 'Last Train Home' make for a fun hit of 80s revival.

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After four years, John Mayer has a new record out – its title is Sob Rock and it comprises the singles he’s been trickling in over his album interim. ‘Last Train Home’ is only kind of the lead tune, then, dropped in proximity to the album announcement but nowhere near the earliest taste we’ve had of the full-length.

‘Last Train Home’ walks a good line. It is initially so reminiscent of Toto that it’s distracting, but the song’s commitment to the sound (see also the almost tongue-in-cheek album cover and crossfade-packed music video) vaguely offsets this cynicism. The 80s pop pastiche thing is getting a little boring now, especially in the mainstream, but ‘Last Train Home’ sort of gets away with it by being so clear in intention. John also builds in enough guitar work to encourage repeated plays, helped by a very catchy lead melody and great surprise appearance from Maren Morris. It’s an easy three minutes.

However, it doesn’t fully escape the song simply feeling like an ‘Africa’ lite. ‘Last Train Home’ is a fun, derivative single, but not a whole lot more. I just hope that Mayer can find time to explore this sound across the upcoming album.

‘Last Train Home’ is out now via Columbia Records. Watch the video here:

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