My Love/Hate Relationship With John Mayer

You are an expert at sorry
And keeping lines blurry,
Never impressed by me acing your tests,
All the girls that you’ve run dry
Have tired, lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me,
So don’t look now,
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town

Lyrical genius Taylor Swift poured these words from the very deepest crevices of her heart, and the world went crazy. Justifiably so, because this is one of the best bridges Blondie has ever released. Various twitter polls have confirmed that it’s a fan favorite, partially due to the whole song being an absolute masterpiece, but also due to the nature of her growing lyricism.

Blondie released “Dear John” as a loud and clear callout to John Mayer, down to the name. At just 19 years old, Taylor found herself between the grips of 32-year-old John. As history has proven, the law is not a gauge for morality. 19 is a pivotal time in any young person’s life, especially a young woman who had spent over 5 years in the spotlight.

The rest of the song goes on to explain in vague detail how he took advantage of her, and how she consistently felt like he was just using her. Looking at their age gap from the outside, it’s not hard to believe her and not uncommon for similar instances to have happened in the industry before. The song also explains how he acted like a completely different person all the time, implying that she had to walk on eggshells all the time for fear of upsetting him.

Against what I would hope to be his better judgement, John joined Tik Tok in March of 2021. Better late than never, right? Well… he was promptly met with a slew of Swifties ready to aim fire at his every move. As a proud Swiftie, I would like to say here and now: I took no part in either side of the altercation.

Until September of this year, my one (1) guilty pleasure was that I listened to and enjoyed “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” because hello?? It’s so good, and for what? Anyways, a good friend of mine recommended some songs to me, and because I’m desperate for new music, I reluctantly obliged. I was… regrettably and pleasantly surprised. To the surprise of absolutely no one, spoiler alert: none of these highlights are “Why You No Love Me.” Just putting that out there right now.

– Rosie –
At first, I had no idea what to think. It was either going to be very very good or very very bad, no in between. Until it was. “Rosie” is the in-between song, but its status makes sense for what it is. It’s written from the point of view of a man who ruined his previous relationship with alcoholism. He shows up to her doorstep, drunk, asking for another chance, and she doesn’t give it to him. However, the lyrics also apply to various situations, including the narrator’s knowledge that Rosie has moved on with another man. He’s okay with making bad decisions, even though he knows he’ll regret it in the morning. The versatility of this song is incredible, and I wasn’t expecting it to hit some of the mental spots that it did. It’s not an absolute 10/10, but it’s for sure a song that I naturally gravitate toward – maybe a 7.

– Half of My Heart –
Ironically, this song features Taylor Swift herself, and it’s lyrically fantastic. I will say, the foreshadowing to real-life events is a bit eerie, but because Blondie is featured, I guess I’ll let it slide. The story follows a man who has to swallow his pride in order to let go of the woman he loves, because he knows he can’t love her to the depths that she deserves. On par with his versatility pattern, it could very well be an allusion to relationships where one party still has lingering feelings for someone else, and they decide to cut ties with the current partner. Regardless, it’s a uniquely selfless song (considering the artist), and I’d give it a 9/10, including the added point for Blondie.

– Shouldn’t Matter But It Does –
This song came as a specific recommendation, and honestly I’m still kind of mad about it, because I did not need to wallow in this for as long as I did. It reminisces the end of a relationship and his hesitation to admit how he feels. Arguably, it’s one of his most complex lyric compositions, balancing ideas of toxic masculinity, blame, regret, and the white-knuckle grip you can have to something of the past. Most importantly, he focuses on his own introspection, asking himself why he’s still struggling and why he feels the way he does. He beats himself up about having normal human emotions, and it speaks volumes about the way men’s mental health is approached in society. Overall, 10/10, no exaggeration.

– Something Like Olivia –
Great, so this song is, in fact, the polar opposite of the selflessness observed in “Half of My Heart.” It speaks from the perspective of a man who spends his time searching for someone, particularly a woman similar to the one he speaks about in the song. She very clearly has a boyfriend, and he doesn’t act upon his desire for her, but his allowance for mental roaming is… questionable. However, the longing for someone who is similar to someone else is a quite universal experience, so I can’t really fault him for that. Despite being somewhat unethical and selfish, it’s a fantastic reflection of human flaws and our tendency to want things, but having the moral consciousness not to act on it. I’d give it a solid 7.5/10.

Part II available upon request…

Author: Sara Hebert

welcome :)) my name is kit and this is my lovely corner of the internet where you get to watch my writing grow in real time. come along!

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