My Top 10 John Mayer Songs (Part I)

I have never shied away from letting the world know that I am huge John Mayer fan. His music is one that, whenever you listen to it, you just feel like you have a friend who perfectly knows what you feel at any moment. His songs never get old to me, as pretty much all of them are pertinent to every aspect of my life one way or another. With that said, I have listed down 10 of my favorite songs from him. The reasons why they are my favorite are many, which is why I have sketched an explanation to the significance of each of them. I have divided it into two parts, with this one – the first part – covers 10 through 6 of my list:

10. “Gravity”

This song just has a lyrics so natural, that I can sing along with it at any time. When I feel down, this is the perfect song. When I feel grateful, this is the perfect song. When I feel reflective, this is the perfect song. One of the lines that is so striking in this song is “Twice as much ain’t twice as good”, which simply means that having a lot in your possession doesn’t mean you are happy. Possessions of any kind, whether it be money, friends, material things, status, sex, popularity do not bring genuine contentment to a person’s heart. These things are not impregnable enough for “gravity” to fail to overcome. “Gravity” is the way John personifies life, i.e. that life can always put you down as if there is a great burden you carry on your back. “Gravity is working against me” as John opens up the song. Saying this line is as natural as it gets, a line that almost all humanity can say sing with genuine convictions in their heart. Most of us respond to the “gravity” of life, which often brings us down, in various ways. John’s response to it is a petition to “keep” him “where the light” which I relate to very well. My interpretation of it may be more religious than that of others. I take this “light” to refer to the Light itself: Christ (John 1:5). In other words, it is not any earthly things that can help us endure that hardships of life, but the Light Himself.

9. “If I Get Around to Living” 

I like this because of a couple of lines that strike so well to me. The first one is “If I ever get around to living, I’d take the end of every day, tie it up to every morning and sail way”. The “end” of the “day” is a way of John describing night. Night is usually a time when we hibernate and retire from our daily activities which keep us busy, as well as stress us out every so often. And, of course, morning is the time of the day when there is really not much for us to do but to get ready for our daily activities. These times are meant to be spent relaxing. When John states that he is going to tie these times up, he is saying that he’ll escape from the business of life by sailing away into his own ways. I relate to this meaning significantly because I, too, share the same sentiments every once in a while. Life can stress us out to the point that we just want to get away from it. This song is essentially about the desire to get away from stresses of life which intimidate us more often than not. Yet, towards the end, John expresses a significant realization. He realizes that he cannot escape the harshness of life, as he sings “You are hiding in your mind, working all the time, trying to make it better than you got it”. The song is a 180 degree turn from fear and anxiety to maturity and gratefulness. The second line seems to be a message he tells to his younger self, that his younger self has wasted a lot of time worrying about how difficult life is when he should’ve just looked at things the way they are. Things actually look better than the way he saw them, causing him to spend his entire energy getting away and forcing his own way. Thus, he tells himself “when are you gonna wise boy?” Perspective changes as we grow old and learn more about life.

8. “Waiting on the Day” 

This song is one that I would dedicate whole-heartedly to my future wife, if ever I am called to married life. It has a backdrop of tone, expressing a willingness to settle down and hope out of finding that woman you are certain you want to spend the rest of your life. John is hoping for many things as he expresses in this song. First, the hope that his life will reach “out in the sun” and “show” his “age”. As much as he has been famous for the last two decades of his life, he yearns for that moment when he’d start to feel human again – someone who can have life on his own and share it however he wants to. Then there is also the hope – perhaps his greatest hope – that he will find a woman who he’ll spend the rest of his life with, “dancing” with him, who will “hang” all the things of her life to be with, who “can love him all the way”, and who can “tie” him “tight in little strands of paradise”. These words of hope towards the end come off to me as words that echo a vow in a marriage ceremony, when a man and a woman are asked about their commitment and affirm their love for one another. Oh, my dear love, I will sing this song to you on the day of our wedding. I’m “waiting on the day”.

7. “Perfectly Lonely”

This song voices out a disposition that is contrary to what most single folks out there feel. While most single folks constantly look forward to the time they will find that person who will deliver them from loneliness of being single, John affirms that he is fine as he is single (or a time when he was…). There is a way of handling one’s being single, and the proper way to do so will make that person “perfectly lonely”. That way is perfectly mentioned in the bridge as John describes the “day” he’ll take his chance to “start again”, and when he looks “behind” on all his “younger times”, he’ll “thank the wrongs” that led him to “a love so strong”. Being perfectly lonely doesn’t mean not taking chances with love down the road. Nevertheless, when we take our chances, we have to acknowledge the fact that our mistakes in the past have led us to take that chance again. In other words, taking a chance is the mark of acknowledging one’s past and looking forward to a more authentic relationship when it finds you.

6. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”

Unlike the rest of the songs, this captures my attention not because of any intriguing lyrics which I relate to – although I still relate to it to an extent – but because the image the title depicts. “Slow dancing in a burning room” depicts that two people, most likely a couple, slow dances in the middle of a room that is burning. That the couple slow dances suggests that they are into each other and enjoy one another’s company. The “burning room” suggests a place that they are not supposed to stay for so long. Therefore, this song is about two lovers who are not bound to be with each other for so long. Their love is limited by a time bomb. The meaning of the title is just mesmerizing it suffices for how good the song is. Probably one of the most underrated songs in the album “Continuum”.

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