from pop eater

In an age when the slightest misstep or misunderstanding can cause controversy -- see Harry Connick Jr.'s recent blackface troubles -- John Mayer isn't playing it safe. In fact, his new single, 'Who Says,' boldly begins with the line "Who says I can't get stoned?"

"It's not a dirty word. It's not a curse word," Mayer tells PopEater of the first single from his upcoming album, 'Battle Studies.' "It's a presentation of an idea that makes people think a little harder about what they're listening to, which I don't think is the worst thing in the world."

But surely he had to worry a little bit about angering some of his fans, or possibly their parents, right? "If you ask me now, I would say I have apprehension but if you played me the song I'd say 'Oh. No,'" he says. "I think the song is its own explanation of why it's not an abuse of a word. I think it's pretty innocuous but I understand it's a different situation once you release any idea you have. I don't think it's not as exploitative of the word as you originally might think, like, 'Oh, is he trying to tell me that he gets stoned?' By the end of the tune a couple [listens] in, the reaction becomes 'I get the song. I'm not turned off by this idea.'"

Still, Mayer understands that not everyone is going to get the message of the song. "I understand that," he says. "That's why I'm happy no one song of mine will be the current single forever. Will it live forever on the radio or will it sort of come and go as the first song off a record? I don't know."

He also denies that the song is about his relationship with the media. At times, he's been unhappy with the press, including a recent incident where he called a New York Magazine reporter a "moron" and threatened to "forcefully sodomize" her editor. "I don't know if ['Who Says'] even branches out that far," Mayer says. "I don't think the berth of the song large enough to touch on that but it touches on the origins of that, which is the internal permission to exist. If you don't put your foot down and remind yourself that you have the permission to exist in this world, then you start second guessing everything and before long, you begin playing a role in taking yourself down."

As for his comments to New York, Mayer simply says, "I got no side of the story. All is said and done. I love the idea that you want my side of the story about a story. 'What do you have to say about that thing you had to say?'" he continues, laughing.

And in an effort to make sure he's never misquoted, he adds, "I'm going to walk around with a little tape recorder from now on. It won't have any batteries or anything in it. I'm just going to walk around with it. You can get away with more."