John Mayer, best known for writing “Your Body is a Wonderland,” a song that managed to be both graphic and sappy enough that it was always met with shrieks of horror and a lunge for the radio dial in my 5th grade gymnastics carpool, is now dating Katy Perry, best known for having horrible taste in men, singing flawless pop hits “Teenage Dream” and “Firework,” and being kind of racist.
Together they have released a new single, “Who You Love,” off Mayer’s recent Paradise Valley album. The video features lots of diverse couples inexplicably riding a mechanical bull in slow-mo, with the camera occasionally cutting to Mayer and Perry serenading each other. There’s so much face-stroking and hair-smelling it seems like they’re about to start making out at any second. The effect is nauseating — kind of like watching that cousin you don’t know well getting too handsy with his new girlfriend during a your sister’s graduation party.
Just contrast this with Beyoncé’s new “Drunk in Love” video, featuring Jay Z. Jay is rapping his verse while Bey bounces around, rapping along, making faces, leaning her head on his shoulder, giggling at him. It comes off as sexy and endearing and genuine. “Drunk in Love” makes me want to hang out with Beyoncé and Jay Z, although to be fair I already wanted to do that. “Who You Love” makes me want to launch Katy Perry and John Mayer into space.
I guess the song’s chorus of “you love who you love,” is a nice (if aggressively unoriginal) sentiment, but the premise of two famous people singing “you love who you love” as if their relationship was some kind of forbidden Romeo and Juliet epic strikes me as disingenuous. I’m sure falling in love with another hugely famous recording artist was a real struggle. The song itself is so heavily laden with Mayer’s characteristic syrupiness that it’s nearly unbearable: they really should have gotten Perry’s songwriters in to construct a behemoth pop anthem rather than this limp acoustic slow jam. I struggled to get through the video (which Yahoo won’t allow to be embedded anywhere else), although there is hilarious footage of John Mayer on a mechanical bull. Now I will never listen to this song again.