[More after the jump...]
The lyric video for his new single, “Paper Doll,” features Prancercise creator and viral video sensation Joanna Rohrback, introducing the video: “By now you know the foremost Prancercise, but what about a prance to romance to,” she somewhat awkwardly asks.*
She then gracefully Prancercises to the song as the lyrics scroll across. The video is filmed primarily in a single shot (we caught only one edit once Rohrback starts doing her thing), so we can get full advantage of Rohrback’s graceful, fluid movements as she prancercises through a suburban neighborhood getting her Prancecise on. She also, quite honestly, is getting quite the work out in, especially as she imitates the angel wings in the lyrics.
But what about the song? It’s a lovely, stripped down, lilting ballad, the kind of which we’ve been hearing from Mayer ever since “Wonderland.” This time, he’s not bedding the girl, he’s romancing her and trying to woo her back after after she’s gotten spooked. “You’re like 22 girls in one, and none of them know what they’re running from," he sings. He throws in lots of colors: black, gold, blue, mint green, moroccan red —as he runs through fashions made specifically for a seasons as a metaphor for her running away. It’s hardly a song of girl empowerment to compare a girl to a “little paper doll,” but not everything has to be an anthem.
The coda is a little too reminiscent of “Mockingbird,” but that may have been intentional. The bigger question is if the song is about Mayer's off-and-on-again girlfriend, Katy Perry, who told Vogue that she is "still madly in love" with Mayer in a July cover story. (Interestingly, Rolling Stone speculates that the song is about Mayer's ex, Taylor Swift, because of the use of the color red, her current album title and the number 22, which is her age and also a song title on her current album).
Mayer pairs once again with Don Was, who produced the fine “Born and Raised,” for “Paper Doll,” the first single from Mayer’s forthcoming album, “Paradise Valley.” Here, as is often Was’s trademark, the production is spare, with nothing extraneous added in. Both Mayer's vocal and guitar sound warm in inviting.
Mayer starts his first full tour in three years, following his vocal issues, July 6 in Milwaukee (following a July 4 appearance at 4th of July festival in Philadelphia). For full list of tour dates, go here.