Do you ever sit and think about how long you’ve been a fan of someone? No? Just one of my weird quirks? Alright, then.
I became a fan of John Mayer in the fall of 2001, after I heard one of his songs on a soundtrack. It’s been a long, weird road with him, due to his public persona. He’s never done anything outright bad but he’s said cringe-worthy things in interviews. I determined to keep my opinion of him split in my mind: the man who wrote and sang all those beautiful songs was not the same person dating a bunch of A-listers. And that was okay. In the past few years though, he’s kind of apologized and his Instagram is one of self-awareness and humor. My heart began to warm for him again. And Danielle Fishel is one of his best friends. Topanga is never wrong!
Especially when he went on his first solo tour in two years this summer. I’ve been following it somewhat intensely since its start, when he performed my favorite album, “Continuum,” in its entirety. With the release of his new song, “Carry Me Away,” I decided to pick out my favorite John Mayer, songs in no particular order, to celebrate the man I’ve been a fan of for so many years, and one that now I feel comfortable claiming.
So here I go!
The song that started it all for me. It appears on the soundtrack for one of my favorite romantic comedies, Serendipity. Though not prominently played in the film, it’s a sweet song, reminiscing about being young again.
Favorite lyrics: “And most my memories have escaped me / or confused themselves with dreams”
“St. Patrick’s Day” (2001)
The final song on John Mayer’s debut studio album, “Room For Squares” has always been one of my favorite songs. It is extremely romantic as it talks about a relationship and how if it begins during a certain season, you’re likely to stay together for a few months. Upon further reflection, did he come up with cuffing season?
Favorite lyrics: “In the dark, on the phone / You tell me the names of your brothers / And your favorite colors / I’m learning you / And when it snows again / We’ll take a walk outside / And search the sky / Like children do”
“Only Heart” (2003)
His second album, “Heavier Things,” isn’t my favorite. It’s not bad; there are some great songs on it but overall, I didn’t get the feeling I did with “Room For Squares.” And then, this song came on. Honestly, there’s nothing special about it. He doesn’t get introspective or anything. It’s mostly just a cute song that I could see being played over the credits of a romantic comedy. And I adore it so much.
Favorite lyrics: “Do not waste this evening, baby I’m begging you / Your big imagination’s playing its tricks on you / If you think my up and leaving’s something I’m gonna do / Feel my chest when I look at you…”
“The Heart of Life” (2006)
“Continuum” is an absolute masterpiece. I cannot say it enough. Coming out in 2006, right as I started college and ending my first relationship, this album is a huge part of who I am. This song hits me in the gut every time because it’s so hopeful but sad at the same time. That’s pretty much the whole album, joy and pain.
Favorite lyrics: “You know, it’s nothing new / Bad news never had good timing / Then, circle of your friends / Will defend the silver lining”
“Stop This Train” (2006)
Another gem from “Continuum.” This one is such a good song about getting older. I don’t think I fully appreciated it upon its first listen but I’m glad I got there eventually. It’s damn near perfect.
His fourth album, “Battle Studies,” probably only fails in my eyes because there was no way he was ever going to top “Continuum.” It’s a fine album, but nothing at the level of his previous one. However, the true standout is this song. And hilariously, he doesn’t like it and won’t perform it! He was asked about it on Instagram recently, and he admitted that it’s not him. He’s absolutely right, but it’s still an excellent song.
Favorite lyrics: “I was a killer, was the best they’d ever seen / I’d steal your heart before you ever heard a thing / I’m an assassin and I had a job to do / Little did I know that girl was an assassin too”
“The Age of Worry” (2012)
2012 was not a good year for me. I had been out of college for two years and had absolutely no job prospects. After a three-year hiatus, John Mayer released “Paradise Valley” and when I heard this song, I cried. As an anxious person, my life is more defined by fear than anything else and as he has done multiple times, he wrote a song that resonated deep within my soul.
Favorite lyrics: “Don’t be scared to walk alone / Don’t be scared to like it / There’s no time that you must be home / So sleep where darkness falls”
“I Will Be Found (Lost At Sea)” (2013)
“Paradise Valley” was released in 2013 and it’s a little bit of a mess. I enjoy quite a bit of it, but nothing really stuck out to me as quickly as his other albums. Except this one because it encapsulates all the restless feelings about life, as usual.
Favorite lyrics: “But I will be found / I will be found / When my time comes down / I will be found”
“In the Blood” (2017)
His last album, “The Search For Everything” came out in 2017. Things had been going somewhat better but overall, I still was dealing with a lot. This song was a bit of a weird one. I was called to it more for the subject matter that focused on how much your family can carry over into your life.
Favorite lyrics: “I can feel the love I want, I can feel the love I need / But it’s never gonna come the way I am / Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood? / Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?”
“New Light” (2018)
Released last summer, this song is just the epitome of fun. He gets a little introspective, but for the most part, it’s a bop. I constantly get it stuck in my head for days. And the video is hilarious. John Mayer is such a dork.
Favorite lyrics: “But if you give me just one night / You’re gonna see me in a new light / Yeah, if you give me just one night / To meet you underneath the moonlight / Oh, I want a take two, I want to break through / I wanna know the real thing about you / So I can see you in a new light”
What are your favorite John Mayer songs?