"I want to leave the Earth as a writer."

By Hayden Wright

John Mayer fans can listen to his new LP The Search for Everything on an installment plan: Today, four songs from his seventh studio album drop with more to come. The singer-songwriter sat down with Rolling Stone to describe the album’s long incubation process and shared some background for the first four songs.

Mayer said his poetic inclinations (as well as touring with the Grateful Dead) inspired him to dig deeper into the themes and ideas he expressed in his music.

Related: Listen to John Mayer’s EP ‘The Search For Everything Wave One’

“My starting point is, ‘I want to leave the Earth as a writer,'” he said. “I wasn’t interested in doing anything I’ve done before, and I wanted to stoke the fire of abstraction and just start punching hard.”

Here are his notes on the first wave of new material:

“Moving on and Getting Over”: “There are two guitars happening through most of the song, this way your attention splits up the middle and there’s just a vibe. That’s where learning all those Dead songs comes in a bit, because it brought me into the world of ensemble guitars.”

“Changing”: “Out of nowhere, I start singing, ‘I am not done changing, out on the run changing, I may be old and I may be young, but I am not done changing.’ It’s 30 seconds long and it was a jingle and I went, ‘Oh shit, how do I make this a song?,’ because it was so rounded off and circular already.”

“Love On The Weekend”: “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.”

“You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me”: “It’s the only song that comes on and I get physically anxious. It’s so open and revealing. I wrote this in one night. The first week we were here, we had an assistant in the room and I worked a little bit but didn’t get very far. So I said, ‘We have to kick everybody out and it just has to be me and Chad.’ He’s the only guy who I can really write in front of.”

Mayer says the tapered release will help fans decide if this album is for them.

“The price of admission is four songs,” he says. “If you don’t like these, don’t get the next four. But if i’ve engendered some kind of trust that you think i’m onto something, get the next four, and come along with me on every single wave.”

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