Taylor Swift’s songwriting and lyrics have always left the world thinking and evaluating their hidden messages and clues. She uses her songs as a means to communicate a message about something, or most possibly someone, and well, she does it quite brilliantly. Her song Dear John is no exception to that.
Who is ‘John’?
There have been many speculations that this sad, heartbreak song by Swift is about the American singer-songwriter John Mayer, who was also a romantic interest of Swift at one time.
Now, although Swift hasn’t directly accepted or rejected the claims that this song is in fact about Mayer, but does she need to? In an interview, Swift said that the subject of this song would be ‘pretty obvious’ for the world to understand. The fans seem to agree with her as they are quite confident that they know that the song is about John Mayer and his failed romantic relationship with Swift. Here are a few clues that confirm the fact that Dear John is a shade towards John Mayer:
1. The Title of the Track – Dear “John”
Taylor Swift isn’t subtle when shading someone in her music. She has had a history of naming her exes in her songs, and she isn’t ashamed of doing so. When hosting Saturday Night Live in 2009, Swift sang her “monologue song” in which one of the lyrics said,
I like writing songs about douchebags who cheat on me and
I like writing their names into songs, so they’re ashamed to go in public. Ouch, right? This shows that directly using the name of her ex in a song is something Swift enjoys.
Another example is the song “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which starts with the name “Drew.” Swift later confirmed that Drew was the first person who broke her heart. So if we come back to Dear John, well, John Mayer was the only “John” Taylor Swift was dating near the release of the song, which along with the other proof, confirms that the song is definitely about John Mayer.
2. Lyrics Directed Towards Swift’s Relationship With Mayer
There are several lyrics in the song that are clear indications of the fact that the song is directed towards Mayer. One of the recurring lyrics is,
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with, which Taylor changes later in the song to
Don’t you think 19’s too young to be played by your dark, twisted games.
When Taylor Swift and John Mayer were dating, we know that they were 19 and 32 years old, respectively. So Taylor is clearly stating her age from the time when she was dating Mayer. The line
Don’t you think I was too young might be hinting towards the whopping 13 year age gap between the two. Are you convinced yet? No? Well, we have some more proof for you, so keep on reading!
3. The Background Instruments
John Mayer is very widely recognized for his unique way of playing the guitar. One of the techniques that Mayer often uses is guitar slurring. Now, if you listen to Dear John, you’ll hear that the background instrumentals contain a constant guitar slurring. This clue is a little more subtle than the others, but it is quite significant nevertheless.
4. John Mayer’s Response to the Song
Although Taylor Swift did not confirm if the song is about Mayer, John Mayer clearly got the message and even responded to it. When speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Mayer expressed his not-so-positive remarks about the song. He claimed that he “did not deserve” the severe “humiliation” this song gave him. Mayer also went as far as to say that this song attacked him mentally at his weakest point in life. Besides his humiliation, Mayer was also quick to comment on the songwriting aspect of the song, calling it “cheap songwriting.”