Well, folks, the new year is officially here and Bollocks! is coming off a pretty satisfying 2010; this blog was viewed 19,000 times last year, which probably ties into the unemployment numbers somehow, but I don’t want to dig too deep into that lest I start feeling all depressed. Since I’m always looking for ways to improve your Bollocks! experience, I decided to come up with a new feature called “The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard” to shed some light on some of the worst individual songs of all time. Why would I do this? Because I have heard all of these songs (some of them occasionally get stuck in my head) and I need you to share my pain. This is not a countdown – like my much-vaunted (well, by me) Great Fucking Albums feature, The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard is listed in the order that these things occur to me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the first installment – I’ll put up a page so you can gain easy access to your (least?) favorites as the list grows. Because believe me, it will grow.
The reason I decided to do this feature is because I hear bad fucking songs all the time, when I’m out shopping or dining somewhere with my wife or when her alarm clock goes off in the morning and the radio station it’s set on greets us with the Ataris cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” (which, I mean, it should just be the soundtrack to a book called How to Make Bad Things Worse). But that’s not the song I wanted to start off my list with.
No, there was a clear favorite for the first song against the wall when I started thinking about The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard: “Waiting On the World to Change” by John Mayer. Released in 2006 on his Continuum album, “Waiting On the World to Change” is a great way to find any reason you can think of to dislike John Mayer’s music (and maybe him as a person just a little bit).
Musically, the song is not that noteworthy, unless you’re noting that it is a ripoff of Curtis Mayfield’s vastly superior “People Get Ready” (you might have noticed that I sing the late Mr. Mayfield’s praises quite frequently here. Listen to his music and you’ll see why). But the music mostly keeps to the background so as to better highlight the “gee-ain’t-I-deep” lyrics which are some of the most laughably stupid I’ve heard this side of the first Hanson album. Mayer starts out singing about how he and all his friends “just feel like we don’t have the means/ to rise up and beat”… um… well, whatever it is he’s talking about. Oh: “everything that’s going wrong.” Well, John, let me tell you a little secret: nobody, in the entire history of everything, has changed anything by attempting to tackle “everything that’s going wrong.” So your problem is all in your approach. Why don’t you start small by maybe recycling or protesting a war or something? John Mayer and his friends are content to sit at home and wait for the world to change because they can’t solve every problem all at once, and the chorus, complete with an airy gospel choir, tells us that Mayer & Friends are willing to sit on the sidelines as long as necessary to get the job done. Imagine if Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks had thought that way.
“Just you wait,” thinks Rosa as she dutifully moves to the back of the bus, “In about fifty years, we’ll have a black president, and then you honky motherfuckers are gonna get it!”
Mayer’s assertion basically amounts to “I don’t wanna do anything about any problems because doin’ stuff is hard.” First of all, you fuck, you play guitar for a living. Your job is to rip off Stevie Ray Vaughan and wallow up to your neck in celebutante pussy – and you can’t take a few minutes on your day off to, I dunno, clean up a beach? Fuck you! There are people with real goddamn jobs who make time constantly to try to help other people, which is world-changing shit. There are people whose whole job is helping people. And none of them got to fuck Jennifer Aniston.
My favorite part of “Waiting On the World to Change” – and by “favorite part”, I mean the part that sends me into a nearly homicidal fury – is the part where Mayer sings, “One day our generation/ is gonna rule the population/ so we keep waiting (insert gospel chicks with a “Waitin'” right here)/ waiting on the world to change.” Now I’m guessing that John Mayer, being 33, is part of my generation and I’m happy to say that none of us elected John to lead the charge on this whole “ruling the population thing.” Many of the very good people in my generation don’t even think in those terms, and I’m glad. It seems to me that John Mayer has created a convenient way to never do anything meaningful or helpful for humanity. After all, if he and his pals are operating on the premise that the time for action is after the world has already changed, can’t they just keep saying that it hasn’t change yet? “Hey John, can you take out the trash?” “Nah, I’m still waiting for the world to change.”
In an interview with the Advocate, Mayer said that “I know that if I were engaged in changing anything for the better, or the better as I see it, it would go unnoticed or be completely ineffective.” So Mayer doesn’t wanna try because he’s afraid no one would notice. Well, John, I’ve got something you could do that would not only change things for the better, but would be immediately noticeable: stop making music, you fucking hack.
Of course, right after Mayer said the above sentence, he added, “A lot of people have that feeling.” And what pisses me off is that he’s right – a lot of people don’t lift a finger for anyone else because they feel like nothing they do will help. They see a vast sea of troubles and don’t feel like there’s a vast sea of people who can do anything about it. The problem is, if we all did simple stuff that was completely within our means (like just being kind to each other, for starters), it could make a big difference (is that naive? Fuck you, we’ve never tried it, have we?). And I get that it’s tough to know what to do to help humanity (that’s a pretty general term to start with), but writing an anthem that excuses apathy (“It’s not that I don’t give a shit, I’m just waiting on the world to change”) is fucking pathetic. John Mayer has made plenty of music to be ashamed of, but I don’t think any of his songs tops “Waiting On the World to Change” in terms of audacious stupidity and general suckitude.