Spinning Platters Picks Six: Reasons to Like John Mayer (But Not His Music)

by Gordon Elgart on August 25, 2009

John is too cool to care what you think of this article.

John is too cool to care what you think of this article.

It’s popular among music nerds to dislike John Mayer.  I don’t know why this is.

OK, I do know why this is.  It’s because his music is characterized by this sugary weepiness that seems borrowed from the worst of Dave Matthews.  “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters” are primary offenders.  This makes the girls cry, and next thing you know, he’s dating a never-ending stream of actresses and models.  Then he goes out and decides he wants to be a blues guitar legend, and people bow down to him like he is one.  And finally, he’s the token white guy at the Michael Jackson memorial, playing a smooth jazz instrumental version of “Human Nature,” and the circle of hate is complete.

But even with all of that, I realize I kinda like John Mayer for a few reasons.  Here’s why you might, too.  Let me know in the comments what you think of him when you’re done reading.

1.  Twitter

John is a serial tweeter.  His feed is always buzzing with dryly humorous posts about his life and music.  He’s constantly making fun of his public persona while creating a new one for himself.  Here’s a few of his best tweets from this week:

  • Finally met Slash. I had to keep reminding myself that I’m sort of cool too and that I shouldn’t feel like a gnat. Worked half the time.
  • Comedy’s moved from making the audience say “that person has upended my understanding of an idea” to “that person mentioned a thing I know!”
  • Fact: 87 percent of all negative replies sent to me contain the misspelling of the word “you’re.”

Give following him a shot.

2.  The lyrics to “3×5”

Everywhere you go these days, people have a digital camera.  It’s obnoxious.  Do we really need that many photos?  I don’t like taking pictures of beautiful things because I feel it cheapens them, and that people should seek them out for themselves.  Looking at a photo can ruin the experience.  It’s like a movie trailer; better left unseen.  So along comes John Mayer with a song pretty much saying the same thing, although with an analog metaphor.  Now when I talk about my dislike of taking pictures of everything, people think I’m quoting a John Mayer song.  But it’s nice to know he and I see eye-to-eye on this one.  Here’s a taste:

You should have seen that sunrise
With your own eyes
It brought me back to life
You’ll be with me next time I go outside
No more 3×5’s

3.  His TV show

A few years back, John Mayer did one episode of a show for VH1.  It’s hilarious stuff, and should have led to more episodes.  Maybe it was always supposed to be one episode, maybe no one watched it?  But John Mayer in a bear suit?  You should watch this.  You’ll be saying “pro bono pro bongo” in no time at all.

4.  The Chappelle Show Appearance

This is just one sketch in a brilliant show’s history, but it was the first time I thought that “this guy might not be so bad after all.”  I’d link you to a video clip of this, but you can’t get the full sketch online somewhere.   Seek it out.  It’s got ?uestlove (from The Roots) in it as well.

5.  His writing when he’s not writing songs

John is a prolific writer.  He’s had an Esquire column, a blog (that abruptly ended after a public baking contest), another blog, and a deleted blog (this one was at honeyee.com).  Unfortunately, he keeps dumping one blog for another all the time.  At least he can joke about dumping things.

6.  This photo:

This is not a good fashion choice, but it was funny for a few weeks.

This is not a good fashion choice, but it was funny for a few weeks.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa August 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Is that picture from his cruise?


Gordon Elgart August 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I think might be from his cruise. Not sure.


Tony August 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I am an avid reader of Pat Pattison lyric writing books (for my music), turns out John M was a student of his (I interviewed Pat) and returns to the Berklee School of Music regularly to help out, so there’s another reason.


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