This pop-soul tune is the second single from John Mayer's fourth studio album, Battle Studies
. If it sounds vaguely familiar to something you've heard before, that might be because even Mayer says it sounds a lot like U2's 1984 song "Bad
." Mayer says he loves "Bad" and was comfortable with the similarity because he knew he didn't set out to rip off U2.
Fans wondered if this song is about the actress Jennifer Aniston, who was linked to Mayer in the tabloids. Nekesa Mumbi Moody from the Associated Press dared to mention the rumors to him. "I know some people think that, but it doesn't," a slightly exasperated Mayer responded. "That would mean that my personal life is more powerful than the music itself, and it's just not. No one's personal life is more powerful than music itself, and it's just not. By the way, I'm not the first person to process a personal life into putting out a record," he added. "I think if there's any intrigue - obviously it would be silly of me to ask somebody not to be intrigued - but I think when the music starts playing, you're not thinking about my life, you're thinking about yours."
This song shares the same theme of a number of tracks on Battle Studies, the message being that love is truly a battlefield, and jealousy is a tactic. Mayer said during a June 2009 live gig, "The album is called 'Battle Studies' and that's because it incorporates a lot of lessons, a lot of observations, and a little bit of advice, like a handbook, like a heartbreak handbook."
Battle Studies was recorded in a studio that Mayer built in a private home in a Los Angeles suburb, in order to escape the paparazzi and rediscover tranquility. The singer-songwriter lived and worked there over the course of six months before wrapping at the Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.
Mayer explained to The Sun November 27, 2009 that this song is, "about loving and hating someone at the same time, when you can't get out of the relationship. It's very bittersweet."
Mayer told The Guardian November 20, 2009: "I basically visualized a record called Battle Studies as a way to sum up the last two years of my life: what I've learned and what I've seen and what I think I know."
The album title was inspired by a book whose author was a 19th- century French military strategist.