"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.
Your Body Is a Wonderland
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AC: It’s interesting to hear you say like, it’s so crazy to me that, six years after I graduate college I’m winning a Grammy for “Your Body is a Wonderland.” You were dating someone at the time that you’re writing this iconic song—
JM: No I wasn’t.
AC: You weren’t?
JM: No, that was about my first girlfriend.
AC: Wait, what?
JM: That was about the feeling, which I think was already sort of nostalgic. I was twenty-one when I wrote that song, and I was nostalgic for being sixteen.
AC: I thought it was about a different celebrity.
JM: No that’s one of those things where people just sort of formed that idea and it gets reinforced over the years. I never met a celebrity when I wrote that song.
AC: Did your high school girlfriend know you wrote that about her?
JM: That’s a good question. Maybe she didn’t.
AC: To this day?
JM: To this day maybe she didn’t. So if you’re my one and only high school girlfriend, that was actually about you.