Over the two years following the release of his Battle Studies album, John Mayer experienced a number of difficulties, including a backlash following a controversial Playboy interview and throat surgery for a granuloma near his vocal chord. "My shadow days are over," he sings in this country-tinged song reflecting the hope that his bad times are over.
The song was co-produced by Don Was, who as one half of Was (Not Was) found commercial success in the 1980s. Since then he has received multiple Grammy Awards for his production work including Producer of the Year in 1995.
American pianist and keyboardist Chuck Leavell, formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, plays on this track. He also worked with The Rolling Stones throughout the '80s.
Mayer broke up with Jennifer Aniston in March 2009, after dating her for 10 months. He continued to retain strong feelings for the actress, and its been suggested that the singer penned this as a "goodbye letter" to his former girlfriend. A source told US Weekly: "'Shadow Days' is about Jen. It really took him a long time to get over her. He really loved her a lot. He wrote the song as a farewell letter knowing [Jen] would hear it. Ultimately he's done a lot of self reflection though and he realizes they weren't right for each other."
"Abracadabra" was inspired by Diana Ross and The Supremes. Steve Miller first met the girl group when they performed together on NBC's Hullabaloo in 1966, and he wrote the lyrics after spotting Diana Ross skiing in the mountains years later.