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Interview with My Stupid Mouth forum (2013)
Conducted by founder Richard Young

There was a song called "Helpless" for Born and Raised that I adored. Everybody did not like it. It was one of the only times where my compass was off. 

I loved that tune, man. It was great. “If I’m helpless / tell me now / tell me now / and I’ll stop trying to figure it out.” It was mean and it was cool. I’ve just made enough records now to know during the making of the record what is going to congeal and what is not.

Article in Rolling Stone, February 2017
John Mayer Reveals Personal Stories Behind Four ‘Wave 2’ Songs
The closest thing to a straight-up rock tune Mayer’s shared so far, the funk-tinged “Helpless” is one of the few tracks on the album recorded live in the studio, with Mayer joined by his longtime collaborators, bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan. (Also known since 2006 as the John Mayer Trio.) “Pino is so inventive without trying that this track is his track,” says Mayer. “You get disco overtones but it’s all implied.” Reminiscent of late Seventies and early Eighties Stones tracks like “Miss You,” Mayer describes the tune as “wish fulfillment recording,” because it allowed him to dabble with retro guitar tones he’s always loved. “I picture myself opening a show with this song,” he says. “It straddles a lot of different vibes at once.”
March 2017 Twitter Q&A
Twitter Q&A session with fans

was Helpless the song that almost made it onto Born and Raised?

Yes, but the verses were completely different. Had to rewrite them which was intense work.

Interview from Guitar World, 2017
June 2017 Issue of Guitar World magazine

The song "Helpless" is an obvious nod to Ron Wood-era Rolling Stones.

I wrote the guitar part back in 2011 for the Born and Raised album, but it just wasn't ready. There was something about the verses. They were a little too cocky, but I loved the guitar part because it had the sound of confidence. I'm not going to deny the hammer-on, pull-off Stones influence, and that dictated the direction of the recording. We were like, oh, let's get the high-powered Tweed Twin out of the locker and really embrace it.

Twitter Q&A (November 2017)
Twitter Q&A about Born and Raised

How did the original 'Helpless' differ from the one that you ultimately recorded for TSFE?

Helpless from B&R sessions was a little assholey. Which was sort of the idea, how I wasn’t sure I could help myself. But too macho.