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No Such Thing

Interview with Chris McKay
Interview preceding "No Such Thing" video shoot

In the case of "No Such Thing," as soon as I wrote that song I knew it was going to be my first single if I ever had the opportunity.

CM: How old is that song now? How long have you been doing it?

JM: I think that song is from the summer of '98. Yeah.

CM: That is a great little pop song.

JM: Thank you. Thank you. I like it exactly because it's a pop song but it doesn't use pop tricks.

CM: Yeah, and you've got the dense, introspective lyrics that hopefully take it to another level.

JM: Hopefully, I mean. I just like watching the thing kind of go.

Interview in Berklee alumni magazine
"Running with the Big Dogs John Mayer, '98"
I made a friend at Berklee, Clay Cook, who was from Atlanta, and we started writing songs together. We both decided to withdraw from the college at the same time. Our withdrawal slips probably have consecutive numbers. We cowrote “No Such Thing,” he came up with the bridge chords. I never would have thought to put those in there.
Podcast interview with Dean Delray
Let There Be Talk, Part 1 of 2, Episode #501

As you get older you don't write twelve verses and pick the best four. Young people: [sings made-up wordy lyrics], and I go, this is gonna kill me. I can't. When I was younger: [singing quickly] "welcome to the real world she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat, take your life, plot it out in black and white"—we're halfway through. And at this point as I get older I go, I don't know that I could ever summon that much energy to go da-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba [...].

DD: It’s almost like joke-writing. 

JM: Oh, is that true?

DD: When you’re first writing jokes—

JM: That's setup city. 

DD: It’s dense dense dense. Later on you realize it’s “bop, bop, boom”. 

JM: That's right, that's right! “Bop, bop, boom”. 

DD: That's right and that's also a great song formula.

Radio Intros 2024
LIFE With John Mayer on Sirius XM Radio
A giant influence on my songwriting is Ben Folds, and especially Ben Folds Five. I was attending Boston's Berklee College of Music in the late 90s, and was so happy to be listening to pop music with this kind of musicality. Because I was highly musically in-depth when I was at Berklee College of Music. And to have pop music introduce me to as much harmonic complexity as some of the other music I was learning, that was awesome to have both sides of the brain working at the same time. And perhaps I have a band like Ben Folds Five to thank for the music that I went on to write. I always hear a little bit of Ben Folds Five in No Such Thing, my first single on my first album.
Excerpted from Radio Intros 2024 >
I remember people saying, "I like that 'real world' song," and thinking to myself, uh, mighta shoulda called it something else. But it's No Such Thing. And it is really inspired I think by Ben Folds Five. In the spirit of both the sort of rhythmic aspect of the song, and also the harmonic aspect of the song.
Excerpted from Radio Intros 2024 >

Tom Petty's Wildflowers is an album that I was very lucky to have in my collection growing up when it was brand new and it came out. It was a very popular record and it also had great songs on it. There's a song called "It's Good to Be King." There was a video, I believe Harry Dean Stanton was in the video for "It's Good to Be King." And there's a moment at the end of the song that really changed me and inspired me as a songwriter.

The end of the song, as you're about to hear, has a piano line that repeats. In music terms that's called an ostinato pattern. And so you'll hear [sings repeating ascending three-note pattern] as the chords change underneath it. It's not that different from No Such Thing, where I'm going [sings guitar riff from verse of No Such Thing]. It taught me, like, oh, you can recycle these notes around and around, and change the music underneath. Well, Tom Petty did it with a lot more gravitas, cause the end of this song is just so beautiful and deep.

Excerpted from Radio Intros 2024 >