Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slate asks the question of the year and it's about John Mayer

I was talking on the phone with my brother Jimmy yesterday and we came to some conclusions on a few things. One of the things we discussed I've explored in more depth here, the other I need to research before I post anything on it, too controversial (think solutions for the the US deer problem).

Jimmy was reading Slate and happened to read aloud the title of the article, "Why Aren't John Mayer's Songs as Funny as John Mayer?" I thought this was one of the most insightful questions I've heard in quite awhile. Forget, "when will the recession end," or "why haven't we caught Osama Bin Laden," this is the kind of stuff that keeps American thinkers awake at night.

If you've ever watched TMZ, you know that John Mayer is really, very funny. He's got a good sense of humor, one that isn't tragically embarrassing or shameful. It's actually biting and forgiving, pushes boundaries, is self-depricating, in a backhanded way. He mocks himself while admiring his own status as a pop star. My brother, like many others out there, didn't know this interesting factoid about Johnny boy. I mean, why would he? He's not reading the gossip pages. I suppose this is a good lesson for him, considering he's stunted technologically, doesn't even check his e-mails regularly anymore (get it together, Jimbo).

Back to the question: why, John, why? No one's saying you need to be the next Weird Al Yankovich, but your music so so lacking in quality lyrics, it's shameful.

I don't want to just jump in on the complex and thoughtful conversation published on Slate, but I would like to note a few things. I think that if you have Mayer's natural gift of humor and his ability to gain a lot of attention singing and strumming guitar, you have some personal responsibility to marry these talents. If I were really friendly, thoughtful and kind, but also a waitress, a rude, cold waitress who was unpleasant and mean at work, I would be like John Mayer is now, subpar.

I disagree that his new single, "Who Says," is humorous. I think it's more honest that his other sappy singles, but truly, it just sounds to me like he's only trying to push the limits of his audience's sensibilities. If you watch the John Mayer TV show (1 and 2), he's doing the same thing there, busting the balls of the ladies who love him. It's sort of douchey, sort of some borderline personality shit. He's testing those who adore him, saying, "you like me? Well, how much do you like me? Do you like me even when I mock you and hate on you, reveal your lameness, your insecurities?" The sad part is that the young ladies will still like him and on the John Mayer TV show, they even believe that Richard Marx writes his songs. They don't even question him on it. It's funny to the rest of us, it's true, but let's just say, this is a women's studies dissertation just waiting to be written.

I guess this new single has a certain level of irony to it that could be seen as humorous. Thankfully, it is lacking in the extreme corniness of a tune like "No Such Thing," which happens to be a song that physically sickens me. I'm just glad this topic made it to Slate's front page because maybe it will encourage Mayer to reconsider singing the lyrics he's written on the toilet or while stoned and start to work on ones that are a little truer to the side of him that is actually likable to the rest of us.

Here is proof that John Mayer is funny:


Anonymous said...

I think this is good

Anonymous said...

hahhaha olde JM, I'm 70% thrilled

Stephanie said...

I don't like John Mayer and have never found him funny. Also, I only know the song about Jessica's "wonderland" body, which makes me gag. Thanks for this funny post though Tracy.

Anonymous said...

"Did you know John Mayer pees sitting down?" A juvenile classic of a line, especially coming from a grown man in a bear suit. John Mayer - mediocre songwriter, irritating and phony singer, decent guitar player, consummate frat boy who lives in a fantasy world < funny. Pity - the fact that he takes himself seriously as a musician relegates him to vh1 specials instead of the production of actual entertainment.

Watch out for the John Mayer fan club, bro.

nintendopower said...

when did miami, bro started liking cleft palates.