Rachel Paige
Updated Sep 05, 2014 @ 2:29 pm
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You know the drill. You’ve got a trip coming up, so you sit down at your computer, open up iTunes and meticulously comb through your songs for the perfect ones to listen to on your next adventure. Or, you could do what I did before my last trip, which was realize I didn’t have four hours to go through all 15,000 songs in my library and clicked “sync all.” Not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I did find myself with a long car ride and all of my favorite tunes.

What I learned from this experience is that I have a whole lot of John Mayer songs. His CD, Room for Squares, came out my freshman year of high school, and that CD spoke to me. Was there ever a name for John Mayer groupies? Because I was definitely one of them. I’ve seen him three times in concert, which honestly isn’t enough times considering I’ve loved him for fifteen years.

On this very long car ride, with all 15,000 of my MP3s, I found myself listening to John Mayer songs again and again, just as excitedly as I did the first time all those years ago. Some people like a good beat for a song, others like a catchy tune, but I really love amazing lyrics. John Mayer has amazing lyrics. I know not everyone cares for his music, but either way, love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he is a darn good guitar player. In case you’ve forgotten how much you love John Mayer, too, here are eight songs you should go listen to right now.

When I think of my favorite John Mayer song, this one always comes to mind for this lyric alone: so I’ll check the weather wherever you are / cuz I wanna know if you can see the stars tonight. That hits me right in the heart. How many of us have ever dealt with a long-distance relationship, whether romantic or just a best friend, and found some comfort knowing that you’re both underneath the same sky? You guys might be apart, but at least you have the stars. I’m adult enough to admit that yes, because of this song I have in fact checked the weather 3,000 miles away, just because. I also think this song is about online relationships. Split screen? Like you’re on FaceTime, and he’s on FaceTime far away, get it??

2. “83

Not all songs are love songs. Really! “83” is a great song that is not about love at all, it’s about your childhood and remembering what it was like. Don’t we all wish we were little and could pretend again? How weird is it to go home, and remember things as if they just happened yesterday, but still feels like a lifetime away? This lyric sums it up perfectly: kind of like my life is like a sequel to a movie / where the actor’s names have changed. Second runner-up to for best song about returning home: “Home Life.”

3. “Why Georgia

Another song that is not a love song! Here, the simple question is, am I living it right? How is anyone supposed to know if they are living their life right? The easiest way is just to live it. It’s impossible to hear this song and not see a montage of life flash before your eyes. This is also quite possibly the first documented mention of a “quarter-life crisis.” The song was released in 2003. Did 20-somethings in 2003 have quarter-life crises, or is that something for us millennials to deal with?

Did this song change your life in 2003? Did you feel invincible after listening to it? According to John Mayer music lore, he wrote this song after a Coldplay concert because he wanted to write music that was both moving, and also great. This song does both. It’s about becoming something bigger, even when everyone else around you (and your body) might not believe in you yet.

There’s John Mayer the singer, and then there’s The John Mayer Trio, which is–you guessed it–John Mayer and two of his friends, Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan. This song is one you might not have heard before. Heck, I think I stumbled upon it by accident one day, but I couldn’t stop listening to it. You’re not the perfect hand / but I don’t hit on 19. Yes, we all have flaws, and there most certainly isn’t any ‘perfect’ person out there. Why give up something great that you have taking a gamble? I highly suggest checking out the Trio if you enjoy good music. Supposedly they’re going to have a new album out soon, and I will sit here and patiently wait.

Okay, this is a love song, but it’s a love song about a dying love. Usually, songs are about the start of a relationship, or way, way after the fact when mean names are being throwing around. This song is different. It’s a self-aware breakup song, and it tries its hardest not to be blatantly sad. I think it works. This is one of those songs for situations where both sides of the relationship know they’re falling apart, but hey, they’re still dancing. The song ends wondering if they should have learned from their mistakes by now.

7. “Back to You

Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy writes song about girl. This doesn’t sound like a love song, and maybe it’s not a love song—but it is a song about someone who’s not there anymore. I need to know how John Mayer comes up with lyrics like should have smiled in that picture / if that’s the last that I’ll see of you. If you take nothing else away from this, take away the fact that you should smile in every picture. You never know who’s going to be looking at that picture later.

8. “Wheel

This was the last song on Heavier Things, and I kind of wonder how many listeners got all the way to it before switching their CD player off (2003, remember?). But this is a song you should most definitely listen to right now. Out of all these songs, this one is absolutely beautiful. What is the song about? Maybe it’s a love song, maybe it’s a song about moving on with life, maybe it’s a song just about love. What I think it’s really about is the continuous cycle of life, and how one thing blends in with another. Oh gosh, where do I even begin with the lyrics? And if you never stop when you wave goodbye / you just might find if you give it time / you will wave hello again. The best lyric is the last lyric, which is almost a call back to the Beatles: in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here)