John Mayer: Bold as Love

For a recent Music League submission at work, the prompt was “New Year, New You.” The song I came up with was a rather dark choice, given the circumstances: John Mayer’s song Waiting on the World to Change.

That said, I started listening to the album Continuum again. Or maybe “more” is a more appropriate term, as I’m not super familiar with Mayer’s work (beyond the popular songs that make it to the radio).

For whatever reason, I got fixated on his cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Bold as Love. There is, of course, no cover that can match the original… but Mayer’s cover got stuck in my head.

What I’ve forgotten about this song is the lyrics – the word choices, the adjectives. And on top of it all, the really non-traditional syncopation, with the words almost fighting at times against the tempo, and at times almost slipping loose… but always returning to land in the right spots.

Anger, he smiles towering
In shiny metallic purple armor
Queen Jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown
Sneers at the grassy ground

I remember first hearing Hendrix in high school, thanks to an upperclassman I knew through Orchestra, Rick. He gave me two dubbed cassettes, both Hendrix albums. And I recall a note he wrote on the inside of one of the cassettes: “You better love Hendrix!”

I’m not sure what it is with me a songs that get stuck in my head. Several times this week, I’ve woken up and heard Mayer’s voice (and I guess Jimi’s words) even before my feet hit the ground.

A good excuse, I think, to revisit Jimi Hendrix. As it’s definitely been a while.

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