John Mayer Was Surprised To See His 2002 Song ‘Neon’ Become A TikTok Trend: ‘It’s A Bit Of Circus Trick’

It’s hard to ask for a much better start to a music career than John Mayer had with his 2002 debut album Room For Squares: It was a top-10 album that was critically well-received and spawned an era-defining single in “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” which won Mayer a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2003.

The album still has legs today: Fan-favorite non-single “Neon” generated some attention on TikTok last year after Mayer posted a tutorial of how to play the song. Despite the how-to, some fans didn’t get much clarity about how to actually perform the track: One user commented, “I need a tutorial for this tutorial,” while another wrote, “u forgot to explain the step where u just dislocate ur thumb.” That clip now has over 6 million views, making it one of Mayer’s most-watched clips since he joined TikTok around this time last year.

Fast-forward to March 13, when Mayer performed at The Forum in Los Angeles. While introducing “Neon,” he spoke about the renewed attention the song has received and gave some background on the track, saying:

“This next song is very interesting to me because it’s one of my oldest songs, and I would have thought that time would just send it down the assembly line and the older songs go in the back and the newer songs go in the front. But, suddenly, this song now feels like a TikTok trick shot video challenge song and I feel kind of bad about it, because I wrote this song when I was playing alone in, like, bookstores and cafés and stuff, and I wanted to get people’s attention.

So it’s a little cynical in the sense that it’s like a little bit of circus trick. But there’s a song in there, but I feel bad because I have thumbs like a mile long. Anyway, I guess it’s this new thing where people are like, ‘You play guitar, man? Cool. You play ‘Neon?” You know the kid in school who could turn his eyelids inside out? That’s sort of what this is. It’s just this one freako thing that I can do.”

Watch Mayer’s “Neon” explanation and performance below.