It’s hard to define the moment John Mayer became an icon. (Yes, the word is thrown around a lot, but I mean a true icon.) Perhaps it’s when he publicly declared that Taylor Swift’s 2010 “Dear John” “humiliated him” with its “cheap songwriting,” or when he moved to a ranch in Bozeman, Montana, to repent for his sins. No, it’s definitely when he decided to use a Bar Mitzvah video production company to create the visuals that accompany his recent single, “New Light.” John has been on a 17-year mission to escape the egotistical, bad-boy stereotype he defined for himself (see: his Instagram stories for reference). But whether you love or hate him, there’s no denying that his music has been and always will be pure magic.
Here, the 15 best John Mayer songs of all time.
15) “Shadow Days,” 2012
Born and Raised was that album you loved to hate because it officially marked the birth of The New John Mayer™. He’d just moved to Montana, hadn’t cut his hair in months, and wrote a song to represent his growth as a changed man. Mayer had to do so much convincing to his fans after his controversial interviews that he literally had to sing, “I’m a good man with a good heart.” Sure, it may not be his most memorable piece of work, but it’s still good and we give him props for being so transparent.
14) “Wildfire,” 2013
Why am I crying in the club? Mayer was featured on Frank Ocean’s debut studio album, Channel Orange, so he decided to return the favor and had Frank display his vocals solo (until the end when we get a little bit of harmony) on “Wildfire.” The song, which would have been most popular on the Tumblr platform, finds itself a home on Mayer’s sixth album, Paradise Valley. Really, it’s John and Frank’s world—we’re all just livin’ in it.
13) “Stop This Train,” 2006
When I think of once-wholesome John Mayer, I think of “Stop This Train” from his third studio album, Continuum. You probably forgot about this one, right? That’s because it’s good, but it’s not “Gravity” good. (More on that later.)
12) “Come Back to Bed,” 2003
If a 26-year-old boy from Bridgeport, Connecticut, serenaded you with lyrics like, “You can be mad in the morning / I’ll take back what I said / Just don’t leave me alone here / It’s cold, baby / Come back to bed,” how would YOU feel?
11) “Waiting on the World to Change,” 2006