Album cover
Home  /  All songs

I Guess I Just Feel Like

Interview from Complex Magazine
All Things Considered: John Mayer & Jerry Lorenzo

Complex: A couple weeks ago, we had our first call together and John, you were talking about a new record. You said your next single addressed the “emotional elephant in the room.” Expand on that.

JM: I hadn’t written it yet. I went home a week later and wrote it in 48 hours. I knew I had one. Every once in a while you come across a song and you’re like, “This skeleton is so good.” As I got to the end of my second month without finishing a song, going in the studio every day, I went, “What’s going on? What am I best at?” Not, “What am I just good at?” And that meant giving up a little bit of this idea of me being at the top of the radio charts or constantly putting out stuff that everybody’s 15-year-old daughter was gonna love. The “New Light” has been great, and it certainly hasn’t been an example of it not working. It’s worked, but just me being in the studio, I’m listening back to this stuff and I’m going, “Do I buy that?” I don’t know. It wasn’t making me happy. I wasn’t loving what I was hearing. And then I had this moment where I was like, “Put the MPC away for a minute. Bring out a tape machine, an acoustic guitar. What do you do? You make log cabins.” So I sat down and I wrote a song. It’s called “I Guess I Just Feel Like,” and it’s this really honest confrontation with how it feels. “I guess I just feel like good things are gone. I guess I just feel like nobody’s honest, nobody’s true, and everyone’s lying just to make it through. I guess I just feel like I’m the same way, too.” There’s no politics in it. There’s nothing you could listen to and go, “Wait. Wait…” I’m trying now to just do what I always did, which is just go to the heart of something.

Interview with Andy Cohen, 2019
Appearance on Radio Andy show

I think we're all very fatigued. It would make sense that we would observe the world and try to make sense of it, right? And up 'til a certain point we did. We'd kind of observe, and make sense. Observe, make sense. Observe, reconcile, make sense. And there's, like, this logjam. This total backup of looking at the world, trying to make sense of it, and not being able to make sense of it. And that disconnect, I think, is stacking up, you know. And I feel like there's this cosmic sadness, or this cosmic writer's block everyone has. No one really quite knows what's goin' on. And for me, I was like, okay, I'm not writing songs. I'm not very happy. I don't get depressed, and here I am with this sort of utilitarian depression, like why am I not happy? And then this song is kind of me writing about why I can't write a song, or why I can't totally get happy. So I've started to write songs in a way now where I'm not even the singer of the song. I'm sort of, like, stepping away from the microphone and writing, and singing into a more personal microphone. So it's not really a protest song on a political level, but it's a protest song on an internal level. Like, I'm friggin' done feeling this way.

AC: And the other thing is, it could be about anything to anyone.

JM: Protest songs are traditionally—they suck. Nobody has their best melody and goes, I'm gonna put this to the protest song. Protest songs are always kind of like, they're very transactional. And this is a very beautiful—it's a very strange balance. It's a delicate balance between being sad but still kind of up. You know?

Don't you wake up in the morning and read a news story, and go "fuck!" There's this corner in my room that's, like, my staring corner, from the bed. I look at that corner. And my question is always, like, [whispers aghast] "how do we fix that?" And this song is sort of about the residue of that buildup. "How do we fix that? How do we fix that?"

AC: Okay, so it is a little bit about...

JM: Yeah. The world is a great big necklace with knots in it. And every morning I feel like the world is handing me a necklace, going, [nasal whine] "can ya get these out?" And I go, yes, I'm gonna get those out. So every day I'm trying to get the knots in the little chain necklace out. And I'm like, "ah! You do it, ah! I can't do it!"

Sob Rock album release stream
Via Clubhouse app
Now we go into some music that's been out for a little bit. Interesting after what's happened the last year and a half or so, how the tenor of this song has changed. I guess things going wrong is an evergreen prospect. But it ends with hope, as all my songs try to.

A throaty tone. A throaty guitar tone. "I guess I just felt like giving up today." Past tense. "Felt like" means you don't feel like it anymore.

I like writing songs that have open-mindedness. Like in "Shouldn't Matter But It Does," I was thinking as it was playing: "If it's on someone I blame the both of us." It just brings it down into this cooperation. I like ending songs emotionally well-adjusted. You know like, you say what you want to say, but in the last verse just be like, everything's fine, I'm just talking shit.