John Mayer is a very versatile artist that sings a variety of different genres. Genres are described as “a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter”. Some of the genres that Mayer songs fall under are Alternative rock, blues, pop, soul music, folk music, country and jam-band. Specifically, Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change falls under the Pop genre as well as Adult Contemporary. Due to the uplifting beat I want to put this song in the Pop genre. Mayer’s lyrics are catchy, easy to understand and ultimately give off a good message to listeners. The reason that I am putting this in the category of Pop is because this song is known worldwide and very popular. This song won John Mayer a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The major characteristics of the Pop genre are appropriate for most ages, have a wide audience, energic, message appropriate and are popular on the radio stations. John Mayer is a very popular artist amongst people of all ages, therefore his music attracts all ages and people, making his songs fall into the Pop genre. Waiting On the World to Change enacts all of these characteristics for a multitude of reasons. This song sends a positive message to all listeners such as wanting a change to be had in the society we live in today. This song challenges the idea of Pop Music when Mayer begins to talk about social justice issues. It is possible that younger viewers, as well as teenagers, will not fully understand the message that Mayer is attempting to use his platform to project. Therefore, it is also possible that this song can also fall under the genre of Adult Contemporary because adults will more so understand the lyrics and message that Mayer is discussing in his song.

The instruments that are used in this song are bells, the organ, the swinging drums and the Memphis-style guitar licks that Mayer hits in this song make the song so memorable and catchy! The use of these instruments is to make the song more inspiring to listeners. “It’s produced but features a real band playing real instruments; it’s a soul record but yet, exhibits a pop sensitivity; the vocals are strong but not overly dramatic, and the arrangements are adventurous but simple enough for the record to resonate with the casual listener” (Tikka).

What I found that was interesting about Waiting On the World to Change is that prior to this song, Mayer had never gotten political or discussed social issues in any of his songs. “Where lyrics are concerned, it’s interesting that prior to ‘Waiting On The World To Change,’ Mayer hadn’t really tackled politics in his lyrics – certainly not to the extent of wanting to ‘bring our neighbors home from war’ and marking that ‘one day our generation is going to rule the population’” (Tikka). I find it interesting that this song was also the most successful of his entire album, Continuum.





Tikka, Tommi. “Waiting On The World To Change – John Mayer.” People Powered Playlists by Musicto, People Powered Playlists by Musicto, 30 Jan. 2018,


“‘Waiting on the World to Change’ Analysis.”,

Horchak, Doug. “‘Waiting on the World to Change.’” United Church of God, 21 Jan. 2007,