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John Mayer's Soft-Sell 'World'

John Mayer performs at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28, 2007, in New York City.
Peter Kramer
Getty Images
John Mayer performs at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28, 2007, in New York City.

John Mayer has spent 33 weeks on the music charts with what sounds like an anti-war song.

Now if we had the power to bring our neighbors home from war they would have never missed a Christmas no more ribbons on their door

But for the 29-year-old singer, "Waiting on the World to Change" (listen) turns into more of an explanation for why his generation seems so apathetic.

It's not that we don't care, We just know that the fight ain't fair So we keep on waiting Waiting on the world to change

Rather than urging people to change the world, he seems to say, there's nothing we can do.

"Look, demanding somebody do anything in this day and age is not going to fly," Mayer tells Steve Inskeep. "Kids don't even like being talked to like kids anymore, you know. 'Just give me the option and I'll think about it.'"

So instead of telling people what to do or how to think, he says, "All I want a song to do is just to kind of present an idea..."

On "Gravity," another song from his latest CD, Continuum, Mayer sings about remaining above the fray in a world of TV and blog gossip.

Gravity is working against me And gravity wants to bring me down

"I was very successful from a very early age, and I want to keep it," Mayer says.

"How do you live your life based on what you want as opposed to what you can have? I would love never having to go to rehab, love never to have to divorce, love never to — in a documentary of me — see a picture of myself spun around with a Ken Burns effect and then hear, like, 'And then things get out of control....'

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