By: Marti Mendoza
John Mayer is one of the greatest artists and musicians of our generation. Since the late ‘90s, he’s been putting out music that’s stood the test of time. Mayer does it all with his incredible songwriting, out-of-this-world guitar playing and impressive live performances. After seven Grammy Awards and other accomplishments, it’s hard to narrow down just 10 of his greatest hits.
After some thought, here are our top 10 John Mayer songs that’s essential for your playlists. (Add these songs to your Spotify library here!)
10. No Such Thing
This is the first track of Mayer’s first album, Room For Squares, which came out in 2001. It was also the lead single and breakthrough hit for Mayer. This song is from the perspective of a young Mayer and wanting to do more than what may be expected from him. You don’t always have to follow the path right in front of you, especially if you want to chase your dreams and passions in life. At the end of the song, Mayer says that “I just can’t wait till my ten-year reunion. I’m gonna bust down the double doors.” He’s definitely been able to prove himself to those that may have doubted him in high school and growing up.
This track comes from Mayer’s second studio album that came out in 2003, Heavier Things. This one is easily recognizable from the “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh” sounds throughout the song. Mayer’s great songwriting is evident in this song, along with the awesome arrangement. This one is about thoughts and feelings we all get every now and then. In the song, he says that in that certain morning, all his worries and fears went away. It’d be great to wake up with no worry or problems every morning and to fully accept yourself.
One of the best Mayer songs musically and even with the few words it has, the lyrics still say a whole lot. Right from hearing the beautiful electric guitar at the beginning, everyone knows which Mayer song is next. This song is about even though he may be living the dream and has reached so much success being a musician and artist, all this comes with lots of personal struggle and pressure from the world. He’s trying to push away from the gravity that may be bringing him down. He needs to make sure that he’s staying true to himself and loving himself through everything life throws at him. This is a great song to hear live with Mayer’s incredible solos on the guitar.
7. Dear Marie
Coming from Mayer’s Paradise Valley studio album, which came out in 2013, this song has a really deep meaning, especially after hearing Mayer talk about who he wrote it for. In a Current Mood episode, which is Mayer’s Instagram live shows, he explained that the girl he wrote this song about was the only girl he dated before reaching fame. It was love at first sight for him, and the only relationship he could trust that didn’t come from the crazy life he has now. He even said that just recently, he found her on Facebook after some deep investigating. At the end of the song, Mayer says that he got the dream he pursued, but the girl got herself a family. You can watch the Current Mood clip here.
This track is another one from Mayer’s Room For Squares record. In the song, Mayer sings “Didn’t have a camera by my side this time. Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes.” He said this because he hopes to one day experience it with the girl beside him or to describe it to her in words instead. This song is especially relevant today because of how we are all constantly on our devices, instead of appreciating what’s in front of us at the moment. Whether it’s during vacations or at concerts, everyone should take a step back and enjoy what’s in front of them with their own eyes and no distractions from devices. In the song’s case, it’d be great to have someone to experience these things with as well.
5. Edge of Desire
One of Mayer’s best songs lyrically and also can have different interpretations for those listening. It can all be agreed on, however, that this song is extremely sad and hits right at the heart. Mayer sings about a failed relationship where he’s desperate for that girl right now. The girl may not have the same feelings and may have moved on from him already, but he’s willing to do anything to be with her at the moment. Mayer’s wondering why none of his relationships seem to have worked even though he’s trying so hard. Combining the words with the perfect guitar riff, this song is one of his best that many casual listeners may not know about. Mayer’s introduction at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010 before playing this song is a must watch. Link here.
4. Why Georgia
A song from Mayer’s first album Room For Squares, this is still one of his best songs ever. With his signature sound from his early days with the acoustic guitar, this song is from the perspective of a young Mayer trying to figure out what life has in store for him. He’s seeing if it’s worth it to leave everything behind and go chase his dream. Like he says in the song, “it might be a quarter life crisis.” It’s crazy to think that Mayer was only 23 years old when Room For Squares came out. Georgia is in reference to him moving to Atlanta where he began his career after dropping out of Berklee College of Music.
3. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
Another one of Mayer’s greatest works musically and with the electric guitar. The lyrics hit deep as well making this one of his most well known and well loved songs with fans. The emotional lyrics talk about a relationship that’s unfortunately failing and coming to an end. They both know that the relationship is “doomed,” and all they can do now is slow dance in the burning room, which symbolizes their relationship in desperation and crumbling down. The lyrics end with Mayer saying that there have been plenty of signs leading to the breakup, but they haven’t noticed it until the end. The guitar solo for this iconic song is one of Mayer’s best as well.
2. Stop This Train
Stop This Train is a track from Mayer’s Continuum album. This song is one that will definitely make you think about life. It talks about how everything is constantly on the move and sometimes you just want to stop for a second and go back, but that’s not possible in this train called life. We’re all growing up and getting older, meaning our parents are getting older as well, and we’ll be taking the world on our own. In the song, Mayer had a conversation with his father, and his father said to not worry about it or wish for things to be different, he needs to appreciate what’s given to him and just go with the flow of the train. This is a great example of Mayer’s remarkable songwriting.
1. In Your Atmosphere
This song is known from Mayer’s Where The Light Is live album recorded in Los Angeles. There hasn’t been a studio recording released of “In Your Atmosphere.” This whole concert is iconic and was a night full of amazing music. This song is a heartbreak song, in which Mayer sings about not wanting to go to L.A. anymore because of all the memories the city has with a past relationship. No matter where he goes or where he is, he’s still thinking about this girl and wondering if she’s in the same position. Mayer’s guitar playing for this is incredible, and the song is an overall masterpiece, putting it at the top of our list.
There’s plenty of other Mayer hits that could have made it to this list, and everyone has their personal favorites. If you haven’t already, take a listen to these and the rest of Mayer’s discography to hear his great music for yourself!