John Mayer’s “Paper Doll”: His New Single Is Totally About Taylor Swift, Right?

Sam Lansky | June 18, 2013 7:02 am

Well, John Mayer (who Katy Perry recently described as having a “beautiful mind” and a “tortured soul,” in case you wanted to feel a lot of feelings about something this morning) has just released a new single and a new video: The song’s called “Paper Doll” and it’s a quintessentially John Mayer track, with a little Mumfordesque drum bit and a catchy-sweet melody, but it doesn’t feel like it’s really up to much.

The song’s release comes paired with a video that’s called a video but is actually a lyric video, since Mayer’s nowhere to be found: Instead, he recreated the viral Prancercise video, with lyrics running across the screen. It’s just so John Mayer, isn’t it? You can sort of see him stroking his chin in a lounge somewhere, thinking about #content and how to #go #viral, and then — “Aha!” he thinks, calling his manager. “Get that weird old lady from the Prancercise video, quick.” So even if there’s something sweet about it, for some reason it feels difficult to trust, because it’s John Mayer, and there’s a lot of baggage there. 

Also, this song is definitely about Taylor Swift, right? Because the chorus goes like this: “You’re like 22 girls in one / And none of them know what they’re running from / Was it just too far to fall for a little paper doll?” which has a sort of thinly veiled condescension that fits nicely alongside “All the girls that you run dry have tired lifeless eyes cause you burned them out” from Swift’s “Dear John.” 

Anyway, it’s kind of a genius hook, but it’s not particularly subtle. Someone might even call it “cheap songwriting,” if they were so inclined. Watch up top.