Song of the Day #4,497: ‘Clarity’ – John Mayer

This is the 20th John Mayer song I’ve featured on the blog, yet the first from his 2003 album Heavier Things (my #5 album from that year).

I’m actually surprised by both of those stats. Mayer has occupied a huge place in my personal listening time, in no small part because he is one of the very few artists beloved by multiple members of my family, and yet he has made up less than one half of one percent of my posts here. And among those 20 songs, I’m shocked that I didn’t find room for anything from the excellent Heavier Things.

This was Mayer’s sophomore album, released two years after his popular debut, Room For Squares. The label took a low-key approach to marketing the record, not leaning into the hype over his last release but looking instead to build a lasting career. For all of Mayer’s juvenile tabloid relationship drama, he has always been very serious about how he approaches his music.

The approach worked, with the album earning strong reviews and still going triple platinum. It also landed Mayer two Grammys, including Best Song for ‘Daughters’ (which is, for my money, the worst track on the album).

He introduced horns and more electric guitar to the largely acoustic mix on Room For Squares, and stretched himself as a songwriter. ‘Come Back to Bed’ sees him in romantic crooner mode, while jazzy tracks ‘Home Life’ and ‘Split Screen Sadness’ sound a bit like Sting (who Mayer once called the greatest living songwriter).

Opening track ‘Clarity’ was a great way to kick off this new direction. It’s a soaring beauty that remains one of my favorite Mayer songs.

[Verse 1]
I worry
I weigh three times my body
I worry
I throw my fear around
But this morning
There’s a calm I can’t explain
The rock candy’s melted, only diamonds now remain

[Verse 2]
By the time I recognize this moment
This moment will be gone
But I will bend the light pretending that it somehow lingered on
When all I got’s
Ooo-ooo, ooo-ooo
Ooo-ooo, ooo-ooo

And I will wait to find
If this will last forever
And I will wait to find
If this will last forever
And I will pay no mind
When it won’t and it won’t because it can’t
It just can’t
It’s not supposed to

[Verse 3]
Was there a second of time that I looked around?
Did I sail through or drop my anchor down?
Was anything enough to kiss the ground
And say I’m here now?
And she is here now
Ooo-ooo, ooo-ooo
Ooo-ooo, ooo-ooo

So much wasted in the afternoon
So much sacred in the month of June
How ’bout you, oh?

And I will wait to find
If this will last forever, yeah
And I will wait to find
That it won’t and it won’t
And it won’t
And I will pay no mind
Worried ’bout no rainy weather
And I will waste no time
Remaining in our lives together

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,497: ‘Clarity’ – John Mayer

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I am not familiar with this album, except for “Daughters,” which exemplifies the trite, banal, vapid and lazy songwriting I generally dislike from Mayer. As I have previously said, I don’t question Mayer’s talent as a guitarist and musician. It is his songwriting that leaves much to be desired. Today’s song is admittedly better though, and so perhaps I would like other offerings on this album.

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