John Mayer’s new studio album The Search for Everything hit iTunes and Spotify last week (stream it below), but fans can’t expect him to be comfortable performing every track on his next tour.
In an interview on Tuesday with SiriusXM’s Buzz Brainard, Mayer told The Highway listeners that one track in particular would just be too difficult to get through. The song, he said, is about an ex.
“Not long ago, I ran into my ex,” he told Brainard. “It was very amicable. And I had this beautiful moment where I said, ‘A lot of it’s me.’ A lot of it is in my head, you know. Like, something happened to me, and it’s just the way I work. It’s the way my mind is, and I took it really hard. And that took a long time to be able to admit.”
Mayer said he wrote the track, “Never On The Day You Leave,” while he felt “really, really sad, like the kind of sad everyone’s there once in their lives, hopefully only once.”
“I don’t know where it came from, but … all at once it came out full cloth … and the song was written in 20 minutes,” he said. “And there’s a line in there that is so brutal because it’s so true and I can’t play the song live because I don’t think I’d make it through it. Like, I haven’t played this song live and I don’t like to think about it.”
Listen to the track here and see if you can guess which line he’s referring to:
You probably couldn’t guess which lyric hits home for John Mayer, but it’s this: “She’ll fight for you like hell, then force herself to like some other man.”
“That’s what women do. They show up 100 percent,” he said. “There’s a time they are there 100 percent with everything. And then, at some point for whatever reason, not making a judgment, you or someone else says, ‘Nah.’ And what they force themselves to do to get over you is so transformative for good and bad that you will never see that whole person again.”
Mayer holds a laundry list of star-studded exes, from Taylor Swift and Katy Perry to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Aniston, but he couldn’t say which lady he’s still emotionally stirred by.
“Maybe it’s revisionist history, and you’re completely wrong, but songs aren’t supposed to be philosophically correct. They just have to be true to your feelings,” he said. “And every time I sang that line, I would cry in the middle of that line. It took me days and days and days to be able to sing that line for the record, and get through it without crying.”