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Your Body Is a Wonderland

Documentary on Room For Squares
"Inside the Square" Documentary

"Your Body Is a Wonderland" is sort of, uh, it's very—within the confines of a real loving relationship, it's very objectifying. In a beautiful way, I hope. Which is, I want to use your—I love your body. It's just all about play time. It's about sort of romance, but in a very sort of, "let's play doctor" sort of way.

Room For Squares documentary
This Will All Make Perfect Sense Someday

The drummer on the record is named Nir Z. He's played with Genesis and a whole bunch of great acts. And we were really lucky to get him. But here's a challenge of making my records. I might sit down and play a song on the guitar that has a certain feel. "Oh, that's a reggae feel!" [Hums riff from Your Body is a Wonderland.] Okay. Well, then the natural inclination is to keep adding with that sentiment, over and over again. So now the bass goes [hums reggae bassline]. And then the drums wanna go [imitates reggae drums]. You know? But I knew that wasn't the case. I wanted to make people just be like [approvingly] ugh! Ugh, ugh! And to do that, there has to be something of a bonehead trance-y drum part. That took a long time, not to know that I needed, but it took a long time to articulate to somebody like Nir that that's what I needed.

Wonderland wasn't there until it made the people who were working at the studio who were girls, like the girl interns, wanna do this: [dances with hands above head]. Like, the girl dance. Because that's what I was goin' after with that song.

Interview about Room For Squares
Context unknown

Interviewer: Okay, and your favorite song to play live—is it "St. Patrick's Day?"

JM: No, that would be a song called "Your Body is a Wonderland."

Interviewer: Okay, now every female out there, I just want you to know that these lyrics will make you melt. You will want to find a guy to marry just like John Mayer.

JM: Not like me! I'm just writing the song.

Interviewer: You want to find someone who's going to tell you these kind of things.

JM: I'll just be the third party on the stereo as you and your loved one are doing whatever you like to do. You know, I wrote the song when I didn't know if I was ever going to make a record for anyone else than me, so. It's just about not having to do everything. Like, it's not about going all the way. At all. It's about not going all the way. It's about the little things.

Interviewer: Aw. Like "your bubblegum tongue." How cute. I like it! Are you a romantic?

JM: Yes. But I fully believe in, right time right place for everything. There's times to be romantic, and there's times to be a pig. Everything is moment-appropriate, you know?

Interviewer: I agree, I totally agree.

JM: I don't mean "pig." I feel bad now, the word "pig" is resonating in my brain. You're going on, you're like "okay," and my brain is just like, "pig, pig, pig pig pig pig pig." I don't mean "pig."

Interviewer: He doesn't mean "pig."

JM: I mean, sometimes you want to be selectively shallow, and I think that's fine. I think "shallow" is the word I wanted to use. There's nothing wrong with being shallow every once in a while. And "Your Body is a Wonderland" is not about being shallow. It's about, you know, getting to know ya.

Article from Berklee College Magazine 2004
John Mayer Returns to Berklee
"My biggest challenge is what I wish could come out of me and what does come out of me," he said. "What comes out is the truth. I didn't know I was going to write ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland.' I'll agree with you if you say it's a poppy little confection, but it came out while I was listening to a lot of records that didn't sound anything like it. Sometimes I finish writing something and then think, ‘That's not what I wanted.' But that's the song that came out; it's what I made. It has been my biggest challenge to realize that is me no matter how hard I try to bend it."
Article in Rolling Stone
"Q&A: John Mayer"
“Your Body Is a Wonderland” is at its best at this point a throwback to 2002. It’s a where-were-you-in-2002 song. That is really, honest to God, the most you could hope for as [a pop] artist. The most you can hope for is for somebody to go, “Oh, I think very fondly on that time in my life.”
Live in Memphis, TN 2007
Stage banter at the FedExForum

You know, I wrote a song one time. And then I really liked that song. I was like, this is my song, I wrote this and people want to hear it. A lot. And so they did. And too much. But how can I help that? I kind of want people to hear my music too much. It's a better problem than not enough, I assure you. I will gladly improvise over these good problems I have in my life.

But then everybody started joking about it. And I'm just a yellow-bellied bastard, so I went along with it. [Exaggerated nervous laugh] "Ha ha, yeah, it's not very good, it's early music, heh." Because people wanted to beat me up for my lunch money. Those people are called bloggers.

So I got ashamed of it for a little while. But then I doubled back, as you probably do and will most times in your life. You double back to the things you were originally ashamed of and realize, not only were they not even that bad, but in a way that nobody would ever let you see, they were actually kind of cool. Cause they were yours.

Now I've come all the way back to possessing this song once again. And I will never leave it, because it has done me so well in my life, and I will not apologize for it, and in fact I will play it with you to the best of my ability right now.

Article published in the New York Times
John Mayer Has More to Say: The Outtakes
‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’ lives so much in its own atmosphere that it’s like it’s been handed to me by some other person. There was a time where I didn’t want to play it, where I took it very personally that people were making jokes about it. Now I go: ‘It’s kind of cool to have one.’ I don’t know if you’ve made it if you don’t have the one [thing] that the least initiated person can yell at you when they see you. Dave Chappelle has Rick James, you know?
Live in Atlanta, GA 2019
Concert at State Farm Arena
And then I wrote this next song in the living room. Which, you might have thought it was written in the bedroom, but it was actually written in the living room. I remember I had a little Roland—remember zip disks? Anyway. Older people remember zip disks. They ran on this little tiny—I have horrible credit. Only recently has my credit rating been acceptable, because of how I destroyed my credit with both Guitar Center and Mars Music credit cards. And I had this little setup, and I had this little thing on the guitar that was [plays riff from "Your Body Is a Wonderland"]. And I looped it. And I kept playing [continues playing riff and scatting]. I was like, this is nice. Then I was like, uh, you know what this song should be called? This song should be called "Your Body Is a Wonderland." That's a great idea.
Podcast interview with Dean Delray
Let There Be Talk, Part 1 of 2, Episode #501

DD: But when you get that one lightning boy, I mean let's just say "Your Body Is a Wonderland".

JM: I don't think that's a lightning song.

DD: Really?
 
JM: No I don't think it is, I think it's a novelty song, in the sense that like if you think about what makes a hit song from a new artist, it's a novelty song. 

DD: Well it's got a monster hook, though.

JM: Sort of, but sort of not.

"Room For Squares" Instagram post
Album's 20th anniversary
The album features a song called “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” which in hindsight might make one cover their face with their paws, but there was such a sense of boundless enthusiasm at the time, coupled with a complete lack of knowing what to fear. Once you learn what to fear - once you start crafting criticism in the voices of others, you’ve already lost a layer of joy in the proceedings. I was sort of like Billy Madison coloring a duck blue because he hadn’t seen one. I hadn’t heard a song called “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” and that seemed a good enough reason to write it. You could say it’s become a punchline of sorts, as all novel-sounding songs avail themselves to, but I as I look back - only momentarily - I realize that whatever goofy innocence those tunes might trade in is exactly the spirit I’m chasing 20 years later, as I continue to look for the big, bold, heretofore-unsaid things.
Live in Tampa, Florida 2022
Concert at Amalie Arena

So this next song I have a very strange relationship with. It's the song that, as they say, "put me on the map." But you do not get to choose which song puts you on the map. You know what you do? You celebrate "being on the map."

And through the years this song has come and gone through my life as something I either was really appreciative of or just couldn't talk to right now. [talking to fans] What's that? My donkey. That's a noun. And so, somehow or another, as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate this song for all it is, for all it's done for me, how strange it is, how weird some of the lyrics are, how it makes dudes feel when I sing it to them and lock eyes with them from the stands. But we're gonna jam out to it and make the absolute most of it, in celebration of this weird little song that put me on the map. Some of us are going to go back to college in this song. Some of us are going to go back to our first girlfriend. Come along one and all.