For all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t be a John Mayer fan.
He’s not trendy enough. He’s too well known to blog about. He’s overexposed or sold out. He’s a white guy with soul. He’s easy to hate on because he’s sensitive and can say stupid things and got a sleeve tattoo and yadda yadda and he’s not edgy enough but not simple enough at the same time. HOWEVER, the moment you play me a song, it all fades away. Specifically, six words: Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.
Maybe you’ve already heard this before, internet, but I suggest you turn your speakers up, especially if you want to feel something. (Plus, it’s the live version!)
Listening? Okay, good. Now…do you feel that? He crams so much emotion into the first two notes of the song that it’s utterly breakable and that’s long before we even get to any heartwrenching lyrics! Something about the total package comes together in these six minutes for me. It doesn’t matter if he spouts off anything else ridiculous in tabloids or offstage, these few minutes are sacredly emotionally musically beautiful. Sure, you can call it just another breakup song, but it’s deeper than that. It’s anger, sadness, a little hope and wallowing all mixed together and spelled out in one phrase at a time. It’s three-dimensional feelings and he moves back and forth between them like a man scorned but still hooked.
He’s on a mission to pull emotion out of you whether it’s even there or not.
He’ll make you hurt and hold onto feelings you didn’t even think of until you heard that instrumental wail.
He’s a creature of pain for these few minutes, but it’s a good pain.
He sings like it troubles him and he plays the neck of his guitar like he’s letting go of his demons or embracing his angels, or maybe both at the same time.
He wants to tell this story so tenderly that you are wrapped up in it, wrapped up in his pleas to get rid of a doomed relationship, but faced with the ever-present feeling that he wants to continue this dance, even if it’s killing him and his six-string at the same time.
Consider me wrapped.
Sure, it’s relatable, but I think I could even be having a wonderful day and still feel a tinge of sadness when I hear him sing with eyes closed that, “baby, you’re the only light I ever saw.” GAH.
I mean, try as I may to avoid the John-Mayer-trance, he gets me every time. Now, after the six minutes are over, I can go back to not being a John Mayer fan just like that, but there’s always the catch: I’m scared to hear this song in public. Because I can act tough most days, but the notes this song starts with to the last brutal question of “don’t you think we ought to know by now?” will cripple me and knock me over with the sap and the riffs and the spilling-of-guts- emotions.
To whomever broke John Mayer’s heart, thank you a million times over, because heartbreak sounds so deliciously good on your former flame.