Gravity is another song that I had no intentions of writing about but, you gotta follow the inspiration where it leads right?
I’ve paid pretty close attention to John Mayer over the past 10+ years that I’ve been into his music, and I have to say it’s been pretty cool to watch him grow and change as a person while he’s simultaneously growing as a musician.
Once known for his arrogance and womanizing earlier on in his career, his most recent music reflects the thoughts of someone who is sincere and honest about their transgressions. I think it’s really unfortunate to hear someone dismiss John’s music because of his past behavior. I’ve noticed that these types of people tend to offer other’s very little room to change.
Although Gravity debuted on his classic 2005 LP, Continuum, I suspect that the track has grown to become even more meaningful to John over the years.
I think it’s interesting that someone who has experienced the level of success that John Mayer has still feels the inevitable sensation of being pulled down by gravity. Everyone is subject to it. It seems that he has learned first hand that excess, more for the sake of more, will never fulfill what he’s searching for. It’s reasonable to believe that he’s still searching, evidenced by the fact that his latest LP is titled The Search For Everything.
Musically, Gravity is a masterpiece. Excuse me while I get a little nerdy about what makes John Mayer’s guitar-work so amazing. Often-times bands will have multiple guitar players that fulfill specific roles in a song. Outside of the bass guitar, these roles can usually be categorized into one of two buckets: rhythm and lead. Rhythm is there to fill out the soundscape of the song. Lead is there to cut through the mix and deliver the hooks and riffs. John does both simultaneously. Sure, he tours with some backup guitar players. However, just listen to how he weaves between the rhythm and lead role through the entirety of his trio album, Try! On Gravity he effortlessly blends the lead line into flourished chords that carry the verses and choruses. Hendrix and Vaughn pioneered this style; I would argue that Mayer has mastered it.
I’ll always love Continuum, but these songs are on a different level when performed live. Live in LA is fantastic showcase of his ability to fully meld with his Stratocaster and produce solos that could never have been completely planned. 10 years running and I’ve never gotten tired of it.
I relate to this song at a pretty high level but also in a very general way. I’ve caught myself living for the chase before; pursing a goal and accomplishing it, only to feel let down in the end. At a meta level, this song is also relatable because it sometimes feels like there is an invisible force holding me down into a pattern that I know, intellectually at least, to be unfulfilling and stupid. Gravity is a fitting metaphor for this feeling. We’re all subject to it, though, and I think there’s some solace to be found there.