Taylor Swift seems to have put her serial dating on hold, opting to flex her professional contacts in order to enhance her live shows rather than burn bridges in the name of a good song. This quieter social calendar may have led her to become subject to fictional reports that she’s broken bread with the NFL’s chosen one, but it was only a few years ago that Taylor’s coffee dates were splashed across pages, laying the groundwork for more than one great song on her smash, Speak Now. There was Joe and his text message and Taylor and his, ahem, busy schedule, yet her fleeting relationship with infamous bachelor John Mayer received the most attention. Stuff went down, the two broke up before you realized they were even together and Taylor channeled her feelings into “Dear John,” an anything-but-discrete reaction song to her time with the man who made “sexual napalm” part of our lexicon—not to be confused with the Nicholas Sparks film that is equally if not more important to the emotional maturation of today’s youth.
Two years later, and a certain John wants to clear his name, explaining that he doesn’t appreciate having his spot blown up all in the name of Grammy awards and album sales. “I never got an e-mail. I never got a phone call,” Mayer tells Rolling Stone about the track. “I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?” Despite bold lyrics suggesting Mayer took advantage of Swift’s vulnerability and pure feelings for him, months of vocal rest and a self-imposed media strike seemed to have given him some perspective. “I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do,” he says.
Break-ups are difficult, and it’s common for both parties involved to always have a different understanding of who or what was responsible for the demise of a relationship. At 22, we hope Taylor has dried her eyes by now, realizing that she can land herself a nicer, less greasy man who doesn’t go through weird hat phases. But Mayer’s critique of her songwriting technique stands to undo all the progress she’s made in the last two years: “I will say as a songwriter that I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting,” he explains. “I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bullshit.” Dissing Swift’s music is almost the equivalent of sleeping with your roommate’s fiance on her birthday cake. Who needs Nicki and Flex when we can have Andy Cohen moderating a songwriter’s summit between these two on a Very Special Episode of Watch What Happens Live? Make it happen, Bravo.