Picture this: You’re sitting out on a terrace at your friend’s place in Bushwick or Malibu or, hell, Cape Cod. It’s a breezy, uncharacteristically warm evening. The host, your old college roomie — let’s call her Beth — decides that the only way to digest the locally sourced seafood you just inhaled and the organic pinot grigio you and your half-dozen close-but-not-too-close friends just downed by the bucketload is to put on some music. She stands up, a cheeky glint in her eye. She knows what she’s going to play and she’s so excited because it’s just been released. She has the “cool music aficionado” advantage and she’s not going to let that go easily.
You heard some piano piping in through the Sonos speakers. The tempo picks up and then… that voice. That voice sounds so familiar. Is this — is this John-freaking-Mayer? Oh my God, yes; it is John Mayer. You’d know those willowy tenor tones anywhere. Suddenly, that pinot grigio feels like it’s creeping back up your throat. Oh God.
As Beth (how could you do this to us, Beth?) distributes some lavender-vanilla ice cream she hand-churned herself earlier today, you find yourself so torn. Mayer, who is definitely the Kanye West of soft rock because his music is great but he’s kinda blech RN, has delivered something akin to “Your Body Is a Wonderland, Pt. II.” You want to love this song so hard because this beat is so smooth. Like, “elevator music at the Four Seasons” smooth or “You just shaved your legs in the shower and now you can’t stop rubbing your shins” smooth.
Then, Beth has the marvelous idea to stop the song and just show everyone the music video. She can’t stop gushing about it. Despite the fervent protestations for the other dinner guests — ranging somewhere between, “Oh, you don’t have to do that” and “Dear Christ, don’t do it, Beth” — Beth actually does it. Instead of really getting this party started, instead of establishing a fun vibe where you all jam out to the new, smooth AF John Mayer song, you watch the video, aghast.
Is John Mayer in an Asian disco palace? Is he living in a rejected Drake music video set? Is he… is he dancing with freaking pandas while trying to impress a scowling Asian man? And why is his love interest dressed like a store-brand Beyoncé circa her 2017 pregnancy announcement Instagram? This is so extra in a bad way. A really bad way. John Mayer may have actually, finally gone too far.
Everyone at this dinner party can feel the mood growing heavier and grosser by the second. This is not how you pictured the night finishing. The food may have been delicious, the conversation was lit and the location — the location! — was on point, but damn it, Beth. She really went and did the damn thing.
As you all start to make your excuses to leave, the vibe sufficiently more awkward now, you tell Beth it definitely wasn’t because of the song (it was) and you’ll call her tomorrow to get coffee next week (you won’t). You leave Beth’s place wondering what would have happened if she’d decided to play Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” instead, the uncharacteristically warm evening swaddling you like a fresh-laundered terry cloth bathrobe.