Thursday, March 1, 2012

A trail of ruby red and diamond white hits her like a sunrise (John Mayer)

I compiled some.CDs for pootling in the car recently and an automatic inclusion was my favourite John Mayer song - Neon.

I've mentioned my admiration for his talents before - stunning guitarist, unbelievably soulful voice and he writes some great tunes. Yes - his on stage patter can be embarrassing at times but I forgive him because his musical talent is undeniable.

Neon (written with Clay Cook) is, lyrically at least, a pretty simple song built around a central simile - that a girl he (maybe) knows is 'always buzzing just like neon'. He seems to want her to be more of a constant in his life but she's not like that - she comes and goes like flashing neon. As a result a distance grows in the relationship and he has to let her go.

Like Dylan in If You See Her Say Hello, Mayer addresses the subject in the third person 

[I (Dylan) always have respected her for doing what she did and getting free. Oh, whatever makes her happy I won't stand in the way]

and he (Mayer) also doesn't want to (or can't) restrain her

[I can't be her angel now, you know it's not my place to hold her down].

A bit ironic given Mayer's tabloid reputation with girls methinks but I like the sentiment and the distanced approach that he adopts here.

Marry all this to a great tune and some brilliant solo guitar and you have a standout track from the sublime John Mayer.

It's one of his earliest songs and appears on his first album (Room For Squares) in a full band version. He obviously recognises it as a great song because it has appeared a number of times on his live albums and he still performs it regularly.

I really want to play this song - he uses his thumb and index finger to play/pluck the chords which sounds simple but, having watched a youtube instruction video it is pretty complicated. Extremely so for a novice like me.

I need to learn more chords and continue to practice, but my goal is to one day play this song and make it sound close to the original!

In the meantime I'll have this on high rotate in the googoomobile.

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