This is a song about thinking about, and, I don't know if you'd say looking for your first love, but trying to track down your first love from many years ago, to see if "it" was ever real. If you were ever real. If your memories are really memories or if they're some sort of, like, compacted misunderstanding you have with yourself over twenty years. Just a little bit of getting the launch sequence wrong in your head every day for twenty years, cause you actually dreamed it. Cause you were actually just being a piece of shit, but somehow you live with the idea that you're all right. And could you track someone down and say, like, I'm all right, right? Cause you would have known me at the very, sort of, most nascent part of my life. But then people get married, and their husbands don't necessarily like it when rock stars come knocking on the door. So you stay away. I tend to stay away. I don't call myself a rock star but if her husband were to open up the door and—"there's a rock star in the driveway." [Laughs]
You guys are great. This is a song I love very much and I hope you do too. I'm at an age now, I'm just gonna be honest, I'll tell you when I hit it and when I don't. I love this song. I love playing this song, I love everything about this song. I learned a lot from this song, because when I wrote this song I thought it was nothing. And then it sort of grew. It had a lot of space in it that became something very meaningful to me. It goes like this, it's called "Dear Marie."
AS: That's John Mayer, playing "Dear Marie" from his album "Paradise Valley." Gotta ask - is Marie a real person?
JM: It's not a real name, but it's a real person, yeah.
AS: It's a heartbreaking lyric - I got my dream, but you got a family.
AS: Is that how you feel about having gotten your dream?
JM: Sometimes - well, no. I mean, it's difficult to talk about making your dreams - so many people haven't even made their dreams happen, I'd think it would be difficult for me to sit here behind this microphone and say: Well, something funky happens when you get your dreams. It happens to be true, but it's difficult to talk about it without people saying, well - you know...
AS: Easy for you to say...
JM: I mean, look, there's enough people who are trying to make their dreams happen. But, you know, for that song it makes sense. And by the way, it's also not like, rendering a judgment, either. I mean, that's the kind of writing I like.
AS: What do you mean when you say, it's not rendering a judgment?
JM: Well, I'm not saying it's better or worse, you know? I'm saying I got my dream, but you got a family. The "but" is very important - well, I got my dream but you got a family is just - for one second - wondering whether that was the way it should have gone. I think that's fair to say without being infuriating to people who are like hey, man, I'm still demo-ing stuff in my basement to try to make it - you know.
More song meanings from Paradise Valley
- Dear Marie
- Waitin' on the Day
- Paper Doll
- Call Me the Breeze
- Who You Love
- I Will Be Found
- Wildfire (Reprise)
- You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down
- Badge and Gun
- On the Way Home