Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Your Song Is So Totally Not a Wonderland

Okay, I need the kids today to help me out on this one, because I am weary of furrowing over John Mayer and in general wasting brain cell activity on his scraggly self.

I like the melody of "Waiting on the World to Change," but the lyrics leave me in a state so pissed I barely know what to do with the adrenaline still coursing through me once I'm done jamming a fist into the car radio to change the station whenever I hear it.

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything that's going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

You don't like what's pouring out of the television set? And so you're just sitting on your bony backside just hoping things will get better? Really? THEN PUT DOWN YOUR GUITAR PICK AND MOVE OUT OF YOUR MOTHER'S BASEMENT AND DO SOMETHING. PRINT A T-SHIRT OR ORGANIZE A BAKE SALE BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY STOP WHINING.

Then I thought, well, maybe the song is ironic, making fun of the people who whine but do nothing, and therefore, in essence, is quite clever and at least does something, even if that something involves attempting to rhyme "war" with "door". But then 20/20 hosted a charity special using the song as its highly non-ironic theme, and then there's this:

It's not that we don't care,
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

What th-- You little puss. Is he seriously saying that he wants to do something, he really really does, but geez, those warlords and corrupt politicians are mean, so screw it? Our grandparents won WWII; our parents landed on the moon; and we? Continue to strive for a five-star YouTube rating.

The last time I heard this song, just before I smashed the "scan" button again, the DJ sighed, "Oh, I just love the lyrics to this song. What great writing." And then I doubted the fact that I had somehow found insight within this song, as I remembered that mass-market DJ's tend to find liberal application of rooster noises amusing. So.

Am I reading this wrong? Is it me? Really, I hope it's not me.

first LP was Thriller at:


Rachel said...

I hadn't really paid attention to that particular John Mayer song, because I haven't been able to listen to anything of his ever since he released "Daughters." "Daughters" makes me want to kill stuff.

Chelsea said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting my thoughts into words. I'd like to think our generation will actually contribute something to society. But, then I leave my house and interact with these people and realize it was an illusion. To make things worse, I go to class and see just how pitiful the next group of kids will be.
But, what do we expect from people who can name Paris Hilton's last ten boyfriends, but not even four of the justices on the Supreme Court (in all time, not just current).

Carrie Beth said...

It's so not just you. As a former JM fan, I had to listen to the song several times before I convinced myself that it was about...nothing at all. Alas, I wish I could turn my vague, whiny sort of general dissatisfaction with the world into a catchy tune and earn millions and a Grammy!

2xgtld said...

I had the EXACT same reaction when I heard the song- "So, quit whining and go do something!" I asked others about it, and was told, "Oh you just don't get it". I figured it was just my old fogieness starting...
Kids today- hmph. Of course, I teach college freshmen, so my old fogieness OFTEN creeps in.

On a musical kick, MB? First, "Meet Virginia" and now, John Mayer?

2xgtld (40 and loving it!)

amy lou the reader said...

Is it me? Really, I hope it's not me.

No, MB - it's not you. That song irritates the living day lights out of me. At least you like the melody...I think the whole thing is a whiny, poorly produced hunk o' junk.

Stop whining, John. And get over yourself. You have more freedom in this nation than anything, and I haven't seen anyone who disagrees with "those who lead it" suffer much except being challenged by opposing viewpoints.

But I suppose that doesn't make for a catchy tune, does it?

Anonymous said...

ROFL...yes, it does seem that most of "today's" generation are content to see what life will do TO them, instead of fighting for what they want/need.

Cbell said...

It's not just you. I enjoyed Mayer's first CD... but like you, I am tired of the whining.

My first LP was Kiss Alive. I thought that would make me feel old until I remembered that Elvis was my first concert

LongtimeReader said...

You're not alone. I find myself puching the scan button whenever his song 'Gravity' comes on. He barely makes an effort with that song. When did songwriting become all hook and little if any compostition. There once were songs that had several verses, that told stories and were quite poetic. Now, artists come up with a jingle and then force some verse around the chorus that they repeat 30 times. Don't even get me started on Kelly Clarkson.

Toni said...

I'm assuming you don't watch "So You Think You Can Dance?" When they were down to 10 contestants, they had each and every one of them dance a solo to this song. Which mean that we got to hear it ten times over the course of that one show. Plus, every dancer wore a spray-painted t-shirt with a different word on it, something like "peace" "freedom" and the like. I love that show, but man did I get tired of that song.

Johanna said...

Used to love your blog. Read it daily. These days...not so much. It's become very negative about, well, everything.

Miss the old days.

Sarah from St. Paul said...

This song makes me frustrated too. It's the whiney attitude that gets me. Music can be a great tool - however rather than motivating our generation to take action, it just seems to make people complain. I love So You Think You Can Dance but last summer when they had each contestant do a solo dance to this song (and thus played it over and over again) it drove me completely batty! In my opinion John Mayer looks the way this song sounds -- pale, whiney and apathetic. Go outside in the sunlight and do something proactive!

Life's a Laugh said...

Hey MB, I feel your pain. But you're asking for guidance from a generation that catapulted Britney Spears to neverending paparazzi-assaulting fame on the heels of a song whose chorus was "Hit me baby, one more time." 'Nuff said.

Heather said...

I agree. I've hated the lyrics of this song since the day I first heard it. I can't stand to listen to it. Which is funny because the other song I can't stand is the other John Mayer song, "Daughters." I can't stand that he says stuff to the amount of "Fathers be good to your daughters" which is a nice sentiment, but then he says "Boys you can break. You find out how much they can take. Boys will be strong and boys soldier on..." WHAT!!! Like our boys don't need as much love an affection as our girls do. It's not so much a boy vs. girl thing that I have an issue with, but if I ever have a son, I will give him as much of my time, love and affection as I do my daughter. That song just p*ss*s me off!

MB said...

Johanna, I'm really sorry if things seem negative lately, but I'm going through a rough transition at the moment and that's going to shade in the writing. I hope you hang in there with me-- I am sure things will be sunnier soon.

E said...

Actually, I've never listened to these lyrics, because I can't stand the sound of his voice. I don't know why it bothers me so much. (Maybe a similar voice from a repressed childhood memory? Dunno). Obviously he can sing, otherwise he wouldn't be such a hit. But just this morning, one of his songs came on that radio (I can't tell you which one because I don't listen that far into them before changing the channel) and the first word out of his mouth got the channel changed. You must have used your ESP to pick up on my dislike of all things Mayer, but for a different reason.

WhitePineHokieLibrarian said...

Speaking as a 23 year old, this song drives me nuts as well. It's really wonderful to think my generation has been summed up with "waiting on the world to change" (please catch the sarcasm). It's typical, isn't it? Heaven forbid any of us should have to WORK to get anything accomplished - it's really better just to wait and see what happens. Maybe I was just born old?

HelloBettyLou said...

's not you, he is lame.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I so agree with you. Those lyrics make me so mad. Keep the posts coming. You are a great read!


Jenn said...

MB--I like the honesty. Plus, totally with you on the JM thing.

Kimberly said...

I've read and enjoyed your blog immensely for a while now and felt compelled to chime in on this - personally I completely gave up on radio when I heard that damn "I will perpetrate senseless acts of violence on butterflies to prove that I love you" song by HIM (not my emphasis - that's the name of the guy, or the band, or, well, him). And "Daughters" made me want to kill stuff, too - well, not stuff in general, mostly just John Mayer.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree. I appreciate what JM is trying to do: use music as a way to make people think about the state of the world. It's what people tried to do in the 60s to protest the injustice. I do agree that this song isn't as hardcore as it could be with its message. I always thought he was waiting for the majority of people to realize how corrupt our government is and not keep believing the lies about the war, and rise up and demand change. Thank heaven's for 2008!

Josie the Teenage Reader said...

I agree with you, MB. All my classmates love John Mayer, but this song drives me insane. A friend of mine went to the concert and said that he told everybody he actually hates the song himself and is kind of ashamed he wrote it in the first place. I figure if the artist doesn't like it, it's probably not very good.

Jules said...

I had never actually seen these lyrics before, so right after I read them, my first gut reaction was, "Stop picking on him - he's an artist trying to make a statement about the state of today's youth."

But then I thought: "Put into that context, this also means that 50 Cent and Eminem are also artists, trying to make statements about how much women are devalued in our society and how being rich and famous is stupid."

(I'm not really sure if I have really made the correct ironic connection here, but I think you know what I'm getting at.)

So, all this is to say that I now think you are square-center, bullseye-shot, DEAD on here. :-)

Anonymous said...

Okay, here's what really sucks: That song is now STUCK IN MY HEAD!!!!
Sara N

Flying Fatality said...

I am always amused by "anonymous" posts. Anonymous (not you Heidi) is VERY adamant about corrupt government and how things Just Aren't Right!!! If you can't have the courage to give a name...any name...then why even bother? Just wondering.
BTW: John Mayer has sweet guitar skills, but his lyrics do tend to suck pond water. When he signs up to serve at a local soup kitchen or maybe adopt a mile on the highway.....that'll be a different post.

MB said...



red pill junkie said...

Meh... never heard of him.

I prefer My Chemical Romance's whining.

And speaking of 60's songs and how they wanted to change the world, I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie

Heather,Too said...

I just hear it and think, "Is it chicken? Or is it fish?"


SaharaChick said...

Anon-If you think this government is so corrupt, try living in a developing African or Asian country for more than a week. You will return singing the PRAISES of the current administration for their actions to maintain our freedoms (such as the right to REALLY BAD musical lyrics, and the right to speak against the government). I'm saddened and worried by the lack of quality running in 2008. I pray that whoever next fills the shoes of GW will have the courage to do even HALF of what he has accomplished.
Johanna-If you would daily read, you would know that it is not negative, but a wonderful, honest, social commentary on our times.
MB-Keep up the fun! Love you, sis!

Anonymous said...

Not only is JM human...(is he, really?) but so are you!
and we love you for it.
You are like, one of mah grrrls (even tho I don't really know you) and you totally crack me up daily.
I think you are one of the people who really "gets it" and when you figure out what "it" is, you will tell EVERYONE...and some people (johannanonamesmentioned) might not hear it as loud and clear as the rest of us.
That's ok...they're just waiting....waiting on the world to change...
*Only anonymous because I can never remember my log in info*

boblawblogger said...

Ha, I'm so glad you said that. I remember that exact fact dawning on me one day as I drove by a Michael's Craft Store (why I remember that, I'll never know). He's like the anti-Dylan . . . "don't ever believe one person can't change the world because, indeed that's . . . oh what the hell I'll just sit on my butt and wait for someone else to act." Viva the revolution.

amy lou the reader said...

Obviously he can sing, otherwise he wouldn't be such a hit.

I don't know. I could name a few "artists" who really can't sing but are hits anyway.

sarachick: Thank you for the great words...they express my thoughts exactly.

mike, professional slacker said...

Let's not read too much into the generational aspects here, people. This isn't a reflection of a culture that wants everything now and with no work. Believe it or not, this is a fairly common theme.

After all, it was over a quarter-century ago that John Lennon wrote "Imagine," another fluffy little song that seemed harmless until you actually listened to its drivelling lyrics. At the same time people were driving around with bumper stickers that said "Vizualize World Peace." Now, I guess imagining and visualizing are less passive actions than just waiting, but not much. (I still like the response bumper sticker that said "Visualize Whirled Peas.")

In an attempt to deliberately eschew both starting a political argument and painting with too broad a brush, I won't name names or even general directional affiliations, but there seems to be a broad group of people who base their political decisions on intentions and another one that bases them on actions. And while it's perfectly okay to have good intentions, you know where that path leads.

red pill junkie said...

And while it's perfectly okay to have good intentions, you know where that path leads.

... to Iraq?

Just kidding! ;-)

MB said...

Everyone, I'm locking the thread because this is veering dangerously into the realm of Hannity and Colmes, and we all know how much I enjoy that type of thing.

To sum, as a reminder:

-Honest disagreement and discussion = good

-political screeching we can find any other place online, on TV, or from the lips of the drunk on the barstool next to you= not good

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