John Mayer is a mystery of a man. There’s obviously something to him that appeals to people. And I don’t mean that in a way to dismiss middle of the road music and its fans. He also seems to appeal to serious people who are into serious things in terms of music, comedy, fashion and intense internet meme culture. He seems a bit unhinged though. Infamously, he self destructed around 2010, but also more recently he has seemed self aware to the point of it being scary.
And so we arrive at “New Light”, the first song I ever consciously listened to by John Mayer. It’s weird. The song is super vulnerable. It’s hard to know if it’s just a song or genuine feelings, because it would make sense if it was genuine. I could believe that women secretly date John Mayer but are embarrassed by him. At the same time, the lyrics are great. They’re simple and conversational but quite naturally poetic. Musically it’s interesting as well. It’s 80s tinged, kinda funky, very smooth. There’s a very neat guitar solo. It’s produced by No I.D. who has produced with Kanye, Jay-Z and Common. It feels like a weird combo, but it sounds fantastic.
The video is very of the time. It’s goofy but very aware of its own goofiness and there’s an underlying understanding of internet culture. The clothes are the real give away. The press commentary refers to his dirty hoodies and pyjamas but John Mayer is wearing limited release Japanese streetwear. He wants to go viral, he understands the game, and he understands the fashion. How is something so mainstream so niche? It hurts my little brain and I am completely fascinated.