Helpless

Album: The Search for Everything (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song was written during the sessions for John Mayer's 2012 Born and Raised album. The singer told MSM's Richard Young that though he "adored" the track, everybody else "did not like it." Mayer added: " It was one of the only times where my compass was off."
  • Mayer eventually recorded the song live in the studio along with bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan. The threesome released a live album in 2005 Try! as the John Mayer Trio. Following the release of that record, Palladino kept busy with session work, and as the touring bassist for The Who, while Jordan was also much in demand in his role as a record producer.

    The John Mayer Trio eventually reconvened in the mid-2010s to work on The Search For Everything. "Pino is so inventive without trying that this track is his track," Mayer told Rolling Stone of the bassist's contribution to this tune. "You get disco overtones but it's all implied."
  • The song is led by a guitar line which is reminiscent, according to Rolling Stone, of late Seventies and early Eighties Stones. Mayer described the track as "wish fulfillment recording," because it allowed him to dabble with retro guitar tones he's always loved. "I picture myself opening a show with this song," he said. "It straddles a lot of different vibes at once."

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