In the song, Waiting on The World to Change, by John Mayer, there are many themes and motifs throughout the song that relates to other social justice songs from our time. A song that I believe shares similar themes as Mayer’s is One Man Can Change the World, by Big Sean, Kanye West, and John Legend. Big Sean’s hit song featuring Kanye and John Legend reminds everyday people that we can indeed make a change. A lyric from Big Sean’s song that most closely relates to Mayer’s theme of Waiting on The World to Change, is

“Million dollar cribs havin’ million dollar dreams

And when you get it all just remember one thing

Remember one thing

That one man could change the world”

These lyrics relate to Mayer’s song because it is a softer, less aggressive song that is easy to follow and understands the concept of being able to change the world without being aggressive. Both Mayer and Big Sean’s approach is not an aggressive social justice song in comparison to a song like Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen.

Another song that has the motifs of change and independence that come to mind while thinking of song lineages with Mayer’s is Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. In this song there is a different message than Mayer’s, Waiting on The World to Change but similar motifs. In Fleetwood Mac’s hit, Landslide, the following lyrics hit a few big themes such as freedom and change.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing

‘Cause I built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older, too.

The singer is expressing that she is scared of all the changes going on in her life but is aware that they are necessary and a part of life. Similar to Mayer’s theme of knowing change is inevitable and simply waiting for it to happen. In Mayer’s song, he is waiting around for change, knowing that it will come. He and his fellow friends are waiting for a new year or a new administration to take charge. Fleetwood Mac expresses that change is inevitable and it happens to everyone. Sometimes it is good but sometimes it is not so good, but it is always inevitable.

The third song that I found applicable to the song I have been studying for the past five weeks was Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. In order to understand the changes Kelly Clarkson was going through we must go back to her background. She grew up in a small town where she felt as if she had no real voice in the world. In order to get her independence and freedom, she needed to “breakaway”.

I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly

I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky

And I’ll make a wish

Take a chance

Make a change

And breakaway

Out of the darkness and into the sun

But I won’t forget all the ones that I love

I’ll take a risk

Take a chance

Make a change

And breakaway

Relating to Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change, Mayer wants a change in the people in power and the way the world is being run. In Clarkson’s song, she also wants a voice and wants to spread her wings and fly. Change, freedom, and independence are major themes in all of these songs. I believe that these themes are what people look for in music, specifically social justice songs. Listeners want to feel inspired and like they too can have a voice in our society. It is a great feeling to be inspired and know that you are not alone.

Waiting on the World to Change—->One Man Can Change the World——>Landslide—->Breakaway. These songs enhance my understanding of Mayer’s song because these artists are very similar to Mayer’s genre of Pop. These artists all fall under the Pop genre as well as these songs. All of these songs are not necessarily social justice songs, but they do indeed hold the same and similar beliefs as well as themes throughout their songs. John Mayer’s song Waiting on The World to Change was not an easy song to find comparisons with due to how casual and soft it is. I believe these three songs have similar themes and motifs as my chosen song.