Single Review: John Mayer “Bigger Than My Body”

Bigger Than My Body
Album: Heavier Things
Year: 2003

In “Bigger Than My Body” John Mayer is wondering when he will reach his potential in life.

In the first verse, he feels as though he can’t see where his future his headed. He asks those who can’t see everything for some advice. He’s lost and feels stuck where he is (“This is a call to the color-blind/This is an IOU/I’m stranded behind a horizon line/Tied up in something true”). By using the metaphor of sight, he is saying that he is not objective enough to know and perhaps someone who is able to see beyond his self-doubt. As for being tangled up in something, it could be his self-esteem, which he sees as fact.

In the pre-chorus, he tells people he’s humble, but he also has been criticized harshly. This has angered him, but he has decided to not to let it get to him again. (“Yes, I’m grounded/
Got my wings clipped…Guess I’ll circle/While I’m waiting/For my fuse to dry”). Instead of using birds as the metaphor, he has taken it a step further and written himself as the bird.

In the chorus, he knows he can do more in life and that there is much out there for him to learn about himself. He realizes he has not given himself enough credit. (“Someday I’ll fly/Someday I’ll soar/Someday I’ll be so damn much more/Cause I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for”).

However, he’s growing impatient and wants to realize his potential now. He’s tired of the self-doubt and low self-esteem regarding his future (“Why is it not my time?/What is there more to learn?/Shed this skin I’ve been tripping in/Never to quite return”). He’s ready to become a new person that he knows is there, but he’s tired of the mistakes he’s making as the person he currently is.

In the second pre-chorus, if it means he has to be self-destructive to find his way, he will. He’ll also be proud of it because he at least he did something besides wait to reach some part of himself. A part of himself he’s afraid might not be there. (“Maybe I’ll tangle in the power lines/And it might be over in a second’s time/But I’ll gladly go down in a flame/If the flame’s what it takes to remember my name”).

John Mayer excels when he’s writing introspective music. He’s able to convey complex ideas well, which he does in “Bigger Than My Body.”


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