John Mayer’s new album Paradise Valley features a duet with girlfriend Katy Perry, which sort of eliminates the question of whether or not he’ll reference her in one of his songs after the fact–or does it? Mayer himself has said that all songwriting comes from relationships, and with his stable of high-profile exes and current loves, it’s become an unofficial guessing game as to who has inspired each track. Sound familiar?
From songs written in the throes of passion to pseudo-scientific analyses of underlying familial issues, Mayer has a different way of writing about the women in his life based on his relationship du jour. While all appears to be well with KP right now, behold the ways in which she could end up being referred to by a future Mayer tune (if she hasn’t already).
Lovingly, with extra attention paid to physical features: “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” Room For Squares (2001)
And ode to the delicious lines and curves that make space beneath the sheets all warm and fuzzy. Famously thought to be about one-time Mayer lady love, Jennifer Love Hewitt, the singer told the VH1 Storytellers audience that the inspiration for the track came from the first girlfriend he had when he was 14 years old. (We’re sure she had a great personality, too.)
Key lyric: “One mile to every inch of/Your skin like porcelain/One pair of candy lips and/Your bubblegum tongue”
Lovingly, with regret: “Daughters,” Heavier Things (2003)
Mayer also spoke about his Grammy Award-winning song on Storytellers, as well as the woman who inspired it (and to a larger degree The Real World and gender roles). Maybe he loved this girl, and maybe they were great together, but she’s just too much of a mess for him to handle right now.
Key lyric: “But she’s just like a maze/Where all of the walls all continually change/And I’ve done all I can/To stand on/her steps with my heart in my hands/Now I’m starting to see/Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me”
With optimistic remorse: “Shadow Days,” Born and Raised (2012)
Allegedly said to be penned as a “farewell letter” to Jennifer Aniston after their break-up in 2009, Mayer’s lyrics reflect on past hardships with a positive outlook towards the future. Jennifer might prefer getting wrapped up in a new relationship with Justin Theroux, but creating thinly-veiled references to a public romance is just John’s way of moving on.
Key lyric: “But you find yourself alone/Just like you found yourself before/Like I found myself in pieces/On the hotel floor/Hard times, help me see/I’m a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time, got a rough start/But I finally learned to let it go”
Reluctantly: Who You Love,” Paradise Valley (2013)
After being spotted together last summer, Mayer and Perry proved they have that on-and-off again thing down pat, appearing at industry events together and breaking up before major holidays. Maybe their chemistry is so strong, John was afraid to take things seriously at first? The long-time bachelor teams up with his current muse for a laid-back love song off his new album, addressing his initial hesitancy to accept something unexpected and one-time desire to run away. Do you think she knows it’s about her?
Key lyric: “My girl, she ain’t the one that I saw coming/And sometimes I don’t know which way to go/And I tried to run before/But I’m not running anymore/Cause I’ve fought against it hard enough to know”
Spiteful: “Paper Doll,” Paradise Valley (2013)
Mayer reignited the war of words between Taylor Swift, after their all-too-brief relationship and her infamous “Dear John,” when he explained the song’s devastating effects on his emotions and its cheap act of songwriting tactics. Proving that maturity knows no age, Mayer’s new album also contains reflections that strongly point towards his former flame, thanks to the obvious digs at her style and color of choice.
Key lyric: “You’re like twenty-two girls in one/And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from/Was it just too far to fall?/For a little paper doll/Fold a scarf, Moroccan red/And tie your hair behind your head”
With a response like that, it would seem Mayer would be cautious to get involved with someone so willing to air his dirty laundry in song. Hmm. Has he heard “Part of Me”? In the words of Walter White, tread lightly, KP.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]