Waiting on The World to Change by John Mayer is indeed a social justice song but I would not say that it is the most controversial or widely discussed social justice song out there. Since this song was released in 2006, people today are not discussing this song as much as they are discussing songs that have now been released regarding social issues. There are certainly some critiques of this song out there but since it was released almost 14 years ago there are not many up to date critiques regarding Mayer’s social change song.

“John Mayer has spent 33 weeks on the music charts with what sounds like an anti-war song” (John Mayer’s Soft-Sell ‘World). This song was clearly a hit and people enjoyed the music that Mayer produced. But the question is did they like the lyrics that he was singing? In this article, it is argued that instead of Mayer telling us to make a change and stand up for what we believe in, he suggests that there is nothing we can do. It is an extremely passive song that differs from many other social justice songs which really push the listeners to do something.

Another argument about Mayer’s, Waiting on The World to Change, is that his generation relies far too much on the electoral process. “Mayer writes lyrics that read like someone with a strong belief in the electoral process as cure all” (John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change). What this argument is essentially telling us is that we rely far too much on elections and in reality elections change very little.

The genres that this song falls under are Pop as well as Alternative. Pop music usually does not include social justice songs but Mayer accomplished that by giving this song a very calm, peaceful as well as catchy tone to it. This song is not an aggressive song that makes people do something. It is easy to listen to and calm. This song is different from many other social justice songs that essentially yell at us to make a change. I believe that the genre, as well as delivery of the song, enable the critiques due to the song being so peaceful and unaggressive.

Ultimately, I do not believe that Mayer is providing listeners with a concrete solution to any of the problems. He is simply suggesting to make a change by waiting. Personally, I do not believe that waiting is a concrete solution to world issues. There are no policy-like solutions that are being offered in this song. It is more of a passive song. “It’s hard to beat the system

When we’re standing at a distance

So we keep waiting (waiting)

Waiting on the world to change”

Mayer repeats the word waiting several times throughout the course of his song. It is a very passive song that makes listeners feel peaceful and at home.


Works Cited

“John Mayer’s Soft-Sell ‘World’.” NPR, NPR, 8 Mar. 2007, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7765148.

Review, Third Estate Sunday. “John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change.” John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change, 22 Oct. 2006, thirdestatesundayreview.blogspot.com/2006/10/john-mayers-waiting-on-world-to-change.html.