"This is my little engine that could."

By Hayden Wright

John Mayer is releasing his latest album The Search for Everything in four-song waves, and now that wave 2 is available for download, he’s back with behind-the-scenes info on the writing and recording of the material. Mayer sat down with Rolling Stone‘s Jenny Eliscu to explore the themes and process behind the next four songs on The Search for Everything.

“It’s beyond a break-up record,” he said. “It’s about my impression of loss. It’s about the ghost in the room. Proudly, it is, as my therapist says, a study into the metaphysics of absent love.”

Related: John Mayer Reveals Motivation for ‘The Search for Everything Wave One’

Here’s Mayer on the new songs, track-by-track.

“Still Feel Like Your Man”: “This is my little engine that could…The title itself had lyrics blowing out of it from every corner…[I wrote it] almost like a treatment for a movie.”

“Helpless”: “You get disco overtones but it’s all implied…I picture myself opening a show with this song,” he says. “It straddles a lot of different vibes at once.”

“Emoji of a Wave”: “It’s about sitting in a feeling…There are two levels to the song. One of them is the beautiful destination I go to whenever I hear it, which is Santa Barbara on a rainy, cold day. The other level is just about this part of life and love that my brain doesn’t understand: wanting to act to resolve a situation but knowing there’s no resolution.”

“Roll It on Home”: “It’s supposed to be like a worn-in pair of jeans. It reminds me of JJ Cale or Eric Clapton, and those unsung great records like Clapton’s ‘Promises,’ which sounds like it’s performed in a reclining chair, with a cigarette burning in the headstock of the guitar.”

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