Mayer says the lyrical idea for the album’s first single – a sunny pop-rock tune reminiscent of his early chart-toppers – hit him one day when he arrived at Capitol Records’ iconic building on Vine Street at the foot of the hill bearing the Hollywood sign. “It’s just a fucking hill,” he remembers thinking. “But everybody decided to congregate around this hill. This is where the magic is. It got me thinking how, in California, we like going from one hill to another hill. And the reason I love L.A. is because it’s the world’s greatest backdrop for love. There is a culture here of the lovers’ getaway, and most of my jealousy as a single man is about not being able to go to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur or the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara.”
The music that would accompany the song’s key lyric took longer to come to him, and he initially wrote an entirely different tune of the same name. Last September, on the day after he’d played in the house band at the 2016 Emmy Awards, Mayer arrived at the studio, “slightly hungover,” to record a guitar part for another track. “There was some really washy reverb on the guitar, and I started playing this line and I just went, ‘Hey, press record,'” says the singer, who worked on the demos alone with his longtime engineer Chad Franscoviak. “I realized it was going to be the song I didn’t have for the record yet, which was looking forward to something – discovering somebody, the beginning of the relationship. Because all these other songs were about being dropped off into the loneliness, and you can’t mourn that long.
“Writing ‘Love On The Weekend’ was the experience of all the best songs I’ve ever written, when you’re going to go home and obsess all night because you know you’re onto something and you know it’s only going to get better when you go back and work on it the next day,” he adds.