John Mayer Transforms Beyoncé's "XO"
John Mayer is a road warrior currently on tour supporting his last album Paradise Valley. YouTube videos of Mayer including Beyoncé‘s “XO” in his set started hitting cyberspace after he performed the song live in Adelaide, Australia last month. The rock blues soul man released an official version on his soundcloud that features cover art with the letters XO on a quilt (That is so classic John Mayer). The cover is a stripped down version of the lighthearted but beat-heavy ballad on Beyoncé and uses a soft strumming guitar accented by piano and harmonica. Mayer’s musicianship gives him the ability to hear things in the song and pull them out, making it sound like his own classic he’d use to serenade his lover. However, the singer didn’t strip the song of its fun, uplifting (picturesque young love or a small town teenage dream) feeling that’s almost impossible to escape due to the infectious songwriting from One Republic‘s Ryan Tedder and Terius Nash aka The Dream . Mayer’s version (especially performed live) is filled with a new passion that is unmistakeable through both his harmonica and vocal riffs.
There are no complaints about John Mayer tipping his hat to Beyoncé because now we can enjoy the hit single on two musical planes – r&b and pop rock. Mayer’s rendition reminds us of his earlier acoustic hits which showed his undeniable pop sensibility as well as the depth of his songwriting and craftsmanship as a musician. Mayer took to twitter to acknowledge and admire Bey’s vocal ability: “The best thing about Beyoncé? The break in her voice on the first ‘baby, love me lights out’ in XO. Real and raw.” Whether you take the imagery from Beyoncé ride hopping around Coney Island in the XO music video or you lean towards watching Mayer just play it with his guitar there is no doubt the song is a treat. You never know, maybe we’ll hear them do a stripped down version of “XO” together? John Mayer will be headlining the Budweiser Made in America festival for its Los Angeles edition this Labor Day weekend, check out his cover and the live version below.