Nick Denton to firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: John Mayer, How about a herogram? The guy's pretty talented musician. Seems to be able to handle fame pretty well. Deals with paps. And still seems normal! Okay, and he's hot too, but that wasn't the reason. Anyone a fan?
No, Nick. I'm not a John Mayer fan. But I will say that John Mayer is unfairly hated on.
He's just a dude who plays guitar. He's not trying to change lives. So often we think about music in absolute terms. Is Wilco better than the Dave Matthew Band? In my opinion, yes. But it's not even fair to compare Wilco to the Dave Matthews Band. They're too different. The real question is, is the Dave Matthews Band good jam band music? And the answer is no. But let us consider the case of John Mayer. He's a pop musician who was mis-categorized early as an indie rocker. But forgetting about his references to going through "quarter-life crisis," John Mayer really is just a hot guy musician. And for a state college student looking for some make-out music, he's not that bad. Also he really is quite hot.
As soon as you give up the idea that John Mayer has indie credibility, all his offenses are less egregious. Advertising for the Gap, dating a dumb blonde and dressing up as Borat are things you'd expect from a sensitive frat guy. Okay, so he jerked Jessica Simpson around, forgetting his own rule, that girls become lovers who turn into mothers. But he stood up for her after the state of Texas blamed her for the Cowboy loss.
In a way, John Mayer is like the Garden State of musicians. The movie could have been good if it not for the last twenty minutes. But a film that's honest about the existential constraints of young adulthood is just not the movie Zach Braff set out to make. Yes, it would be great if John Mayer were someone who could truly to speak to our quarter-life crisis. But that's not the kind of musician he is. He's a pop star. And it could be a lot worse. See Zach Braff.
Day Editor's note: This clip presents the evidence for my counterpoint, John Mayer: Actually That Bad