A Love Song For No One

One of the more humorous aspects of life is the way that one’s reading can occasionally bring to light aspects of one’s life by putting it in a larger context.  For me, I find those books in strange circumstances.  For example, I recently read a book on nationalism as an imagined community, and the book discussed the way that those who were engaged in writing and forming identities as well as those who were involved in multilingual discourse were cultural elites.  I have a difficult time seeing myself as an elite, because I have always lived my life as an outsider, but at the same time if I step outside of myself and my own subjective point of view, it is easy to see that my own approach when it comes to serving institutions and expressing myself and acquiring important knowledge in how things work marks me off as an insider even if my own subjective experience in life has always been fraught with feeling on the outside.  I suspect this is not an unusual experience for those who are talented but not necessarily particularly skilled politically and who come from obscure backgrounds as I do.

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One of my loyal readers commented to me that she was distressed at the result of a conversation she had with one of her sons.  In attempting to comfort and encourage her son to clean (not something I do particularly well, I must admit) she only succeeded in alarming him about matters of loneliness and seeking a good home of his own.  In life we have expectations of ourselves and others and of how life will go.  It is a hard thing to encourage others in areas where they are struggling.  For one, there is often a certain amount of shame in struggling to begin with, and on top of that there can be a lack of credibility that people have in speaking to the struggle that others face.  For a great many of us, and I speak for myself here as much as for anyone else, it is impossible for people to be able to speak authoritatively without having walked in one’s shoes, which greatly limits the ability people have in trying to connect.

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Who writes love songs for no one?  John Mayer, that’s who.  On his first major studio release, “Room For Squares,” he included the song as part of his quarter life crisis.  If “Your Body Is A Wonderland” is a hit song that reflects John Mayer’s early explorations into love songs based on his experiences as a teenager, then “Love Song For No One” expresses the sort of worldly wise cynicism that one would expect from someone who is in their 20’s, at least, who wants to write a love song but is somewhat sullen that they don’t have anyone in their lives to write about.  Did Jane Austen complain that she was writing romance novels for no one?  No, she went about and wrote those novels without whining about it.  Perhaps it is easy to be harsh on millennials, but it should be noted that Mayer is not alone in drawing attention to the fact that he is writing a love song for no one.  The Beatles wrote a song called “For No One” that dwelt on the end of a relationship, and it is likely that Mayer was trying to show a similar maturity in writing a love song expressing his desire for love despite the lack of someone in his life.  His interest in writing love songs was by no means limited to the beginning of his career, as he has continually written songs that reflect on the ups and downs of his love life, often involving famous ladies.

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About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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