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All Taylor Swift Songs About John Mayer

Taylor Swift is an amazing singer and songwriter, with millions of fans around the world who love her work. Their adulation is thanks in large part to the real way she tells stories, bringing her personal relationships into the mix as inspiration and writing them out in an easily approachable way. Many of her tracks are about her exes and her past relationships, leading to her becoming Queen of the Breakup Song Category for many. 

April 18, 2010 – Taylor Swift at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards. Image source: Keith HInkle, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In this article, we’ll tackle one of the most interesting breakups she had, specifically the one with John Mayer. Their sparring went on for years despite the two having a very short relationship, and with her releasing her old albums again, it’s the perfect time to dig into which ones were about him. In this article, we’ll discuss the couple’s relationship and try to tick off all the songs Taylor Swift wrote about John Mayer. 

A Relationship History For Non-Swifties

It would be kind of difficult to truly appreciate or understand a list like this without a timeline and explanation of Swift and Mayer’s relationship, especially for those not deeply invested in her personal life. 

August 13, 2019 – John Mayer performing live by Christian Sarkine. Image source: Thatcommonkid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swift and Mayer met on social media after he tweeted that he wanted to collaborate with the then-19-year-old country-pop star. He had a song coming out at the time and wanted her to be his duet partner, likening their ability to Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. She, of course, felt flattered, as she had been a fan of him for quite a long time. The track would come out eight months after that tweet, but they were still not an official couple. 

It’s likely the two began dating shortly after Swift broke up with Taylor Lautner in 2009 and she and Mayer performed the song at the Z100 Jingle Ball. The relationship seems short because it was so uneventful but that changed after the two had separated.

John Mayer - Paper Doll (Lyric)

The official breakup of the couple is debatable among fans, with many pointing to 2010, just a few months after going public with it being the point that it ended. Swift and Mayer seemed to throw digs at each other quite often in their tracks, starting with her Speak Now album and his single Paper Doll

While Swift never discloses who her songs are about, some of them are pretty apparent when it comes to the identity of the person on the other side. In this list, we’ll go over the songs that are definitely about Mayer and throw in a couple of tracks that are debatable for good fun. 

Dear John

Taylor Swift - Dear John (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

We’ll start this one with the most obvious candidate for being about Mayer in all of T-Sizzle’s discography. Dear John is the easiest song to pull evidence for in terms of whether or not it’s about Mayer. It literally has his first name as the title of the track, and it was released very shortly after their alleged breakup in the timeline, and neither one had done anything to try to dissuade fans about him being the subject of the song. 

The lyrics for it are also very specific. It is one of the most heartfelt tracks she has released. It laid out in painstaking detail portions of their relationship, discussing all the ways he was not a person you would want your friend to date. In particular, the lines referencing how “19 is too young” and “Dear John… don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?” are ominously too close to being about her relationship with Mayer to be about anyone else. 

He hated the song, mostly because of how humiliated he felt after it was released. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he stated that it made him feel terrible, and he didn’t deserve anything like that. He did, however, refuse to comment on the line about her being too young and overall said the single was “cheap songwriting.”

The Story of Us

Taylor Swift - The Story Of Us

The Story Of Us is another song from Speak Now that most people acknowledge is directly related to Mayer. Its story is all about running into an ex at an event and the anxiousness that comes with it because you’re no longer together.

The lines in the track are pretty obviously full of hurt that the relationship ended, but the liner notes are the interesting part of the song. The simple inclusion of CMT Awards 2010 is all it takes to make this one about Mayer, as both were in attendance and sat near each other shortly after their breakup. 

She would post on her website and give an interview about the track, discussing how she’s run into exes in strange places plenty of times, but this one was at an awards show. She then went on to discuss how painful it was for them to both pretend to ignore each other. Tying that into the note from the liner pretty much confirms that this song is indeed about Mayer. 

Ours

Taylor Swift - Ours

Pretty much all of Swift’s songs about Mayer are negative. She goes after everything about it, from the age gap to the way she was treated and even how the awfulness of it has stayed with her for over a decade, tainting her views. I guess fortunately for him, there is at least one positive track about their time together. 

Ours is a happy look at their relationship, speaking about a couple whose love remains strong despite the numerous other people telling them that they won’t work out. This one is a bit more ambiguous than the glaringly negative songs about Mayer, with some—not many—fans believing it could be about Joe Jonas or Taylor Lautner rather than Mayer.

But the Speak Now track has a line about the gap between the love interest’s teeth and a sleeve of tattoos, two things Mayer famously has. And that’s all it takes for fans to label it as a Mayer song, which is pretty good evidence if you ask me. 

Superman 

Taylor Swift - Superman (Taylor’s Version) (Lyric Video)

Superman might seem like an odd choice to have been about a Mayer whom Swift was none too pleased with at the time she wrote the songs for Speak Now. Coming out as a bonus track on the deluxe version of the album, this was her imagining that she was the love interest of the famous superhero. As he goes around the world being heroic, she’s stuck at home.

The second verse is where Mayer’s involvement kicks in, as Swift hints at a darker side to her Superman than the comic version. She talks about how he isn’t as bad as his reputation, he’s complicated, and he’s irrational. All traits that have led fans to believe the Superman in the song is actually Mayer. 

Sad Beautiful Tragic 

Taylor Swift - Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor's Version) (Lyric Video)

Red was an album mostly dedicated to Jake Gyllenhaal, but Swift still had some time to go back to Mayer on it. Sad Beautiful Tragic is about, unsurprisingly, a sad, beautiful, and tragic relationship. The established version of her relationship with him seems to fit in the lyrics of the song, but it could still involve Taylor Lautner. In fact, some argue online that this one is about both Mayer and Lautner at the same time, though through a different perspective for each one.

Recommended: Saddest Taylor Swift songs

Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve

Taylor Swift - Would've, Could've, Should've (Official Lyric Video)

The Taylor Swift and John Mayer drama was still not over in 2022. And while he was offended by Dear John, he would likely have been doubly miffed by Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve. Coming from her 2022 Midnights album, the song was her revisiting a relationship from 13 years in the past, viewing it with the wisdom and experience she’s gained in the years since it ended. And this time, she’s even more mad about it than she was at 19. 

This is the track with the clearest message that her relationship with Mayer has stayed with her over the years. Several lines discuss the death of a relationship and how it still won’t die even though she’s over it. But it’s the lines about dancing with the devil at 19 that are the most poignant. 

Foolish One

Taylor Swift - Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) (Lyric Video)

Foolish One was one of several vault tracks for Speak Now, and it was released in the 2023 rerecording of the album. It follows in the footsteps of Dear John, mainly discussing that Swift should have seen the red flags in a relationship and is ashamed she wasn’t able to at the time.

It’s very likely it’s all about Mayer, as it also details her emotional state after their breakup and the anxiety that she dealt with as she longed for the two to reconcile. As we already discussed with The Story Of Us, she wanted the two to work things out, but by 2023 she’s glad they never did. 

Electric Touch 

Electric Touch (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) (Lyric Video)

The vault tracks for Speak Now are all amazing, with Electric Touch being no exception. It’s mainly about her fear of jumping into a new relationship, discussing secret rendezvous, and the excitement of keeping things on the down low, two things that go hand-in-hand with her relationship with Mayer.

It also sort of references the electric touch of Mayer described in Alice Peacock’s 2002 song Bliss. The timing and references for the track are what many point to in order to say it’s about Mayer, and I have a hard time disagreeing with those arguments. 

I Can See You 

Taylor Swift - I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) (Official Video)

Another vault track from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), I Can See You sees Taylor Swift narrate a secret attraction to someone whom she shouldn’t have one. The specific lines in the song that point to Mayer are mainly about how they kept things professional, but eventually, that changed. Fans believe that this references the two working on Half Of My Heart in 2009, the duet that eventually led to their relationship in the first place. 

Bad Blood

Taylor Swift - Bad Blood ft. Kendrick Lamar

Bad Blood isn’t a song that’s directly about Mayer, but he was definitely involved in it. Swift toured with Katy Perry for a bit after the two became friends but that friendship quickly soured. Part of the reason for it was because of the problems the two had on tour together, such as hiring people from Swift’s staff and “trying to sabotage her.”

Swift even confirmed the track was about a female artist who wouldn’t be named, but we all know. The reason it’s included here is that Perry dated Mayer for a time during that, only adding to the bad blood between the two artists. 

I Knew You Were Trouble

Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble

And now we get to the final song on the list and one track you could make a solid debate that it isn’t about Mayer. I Knew You Were Trouble is all about how frustrated Swift was that she ignored red flags to be with someone and got her heart broken despite taking the plunge.

It came from her fourth album, Red, with a chorus recalling a person that she knew was bad news from the beginning but decided to ignore all the problems. This one is a little ambiguous, even for a Taylor Swift song, so there are plenty of other guys out there that this could be about. Swift, again, doesn’t openly disclose who her tracks are about, but this one is probably Harry Styles rather than Mayer. The shoe still fits though.

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