Top 40 single reviews

John Mayer & Taylor Swift

Half Of My Heart

Album: Battle Studies

Year: 2010


       A young woman opens John Mayer up in the tender “Half Of My Heart.”

        A yearning guitar opens the single, setting a private tone. As a child he was taught people hold others back from their dreams. While he was a teenager and in college, he didn’t try to get close to anyone. It made him independent and he could leave whenever he wanted. He went to live in Japan for awhile and then moved to New York. His Facebook is filled with friends he’s met while traveling. As he was reading a book on his break, he spots a young woman talking  with a co-worker. Her smile, wide and friendly, catches his eye. There is something sincere about her. As she walks pasts him, she waves and comments about the size of the sandwiches in the cafeteria. He laughs at her joke, finding himself wanting to talk to her about his day. (“ I was born in the arms of imaginary friends/Free to roam, made a home out of everywhere I've been/Then you come crashing in, like the realest thing/Trying my best to understand all that your love can bring.”)

            In the chorus, he’s confused and isn’t sure how to handle falling for her. He realizes he cares for her. However, he doesn’t understand his own feelings at the moment. He wants to be with her but he knows he has to be ready first. Taylor Swift is in the background, providing quiet support.  (“Oh half of my heart's got a grip on the situation/Half of my heart takes time/Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you/That I can't keep loving you (can't keep loving you)/Oh, with half of my heart.”)

          His parents encouraged him that a career is first priority. Growing up, he dated around and even had a long-term girlfriend once. However, if anything popped up (social networking opportunity, a chance to travel somewhere he hadn’t been), he’d break the date and go.  But he would see his friends with their girlfriends and it would sting a bit. Now, he sees it was a selfish way to live his life. (“I was made to believe I’d never love somebody else/I made a plan, stay the man who can only love himself/Lonely was the song I sang, 'til the day you came/Showing me another way and all that my love can bring.”)

       The chorus is sung again.

       In the bridge, his girlfriend believes he is capable of love. However, he doesn’t feel good enough for her. After a couple years together, he thinks she may resent him for not being vocal about his emotions. He can’t help but be in love with her. Mayer exchanges “I love you’s” Swith, giving in to his feelings some. (“Your faith is strong/But I can only fall short for so long/Down the road, later on/You will hate that I never gave more to you than half of my heart/But I can't stop loving you/I can't stop loving you /I can’t stop loving you/I can’t stop loving you/ but I can't stop loving you with half of my/Half of my heart/Half of my heart.”)

      In the second chorus, he imagines what could go wrong. Yet, he can’ think of his life without her in it. He wants to tell her about his newfound dream of marriage and children. He’s tempted to buy her a ring from a candy machine and propose to her. For the first time, he wants to make a commitment to someone. (“Half of my heart's got a real good imagination/Half of my heart's got you/Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you/That half of my heart won't do/Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring/And half of my heart is the part of a man who's never truly loved anything.”)

    Mayer and Swift sing “half of my heart” six times to end the single.

 Mayer’s lovesick, romantic vocals are adoring. His entire way of thinking has been shattered. Suddenly, his career and travels, which were once important now seem trivial There are musuems and hiking trails everywhere. There is only one her.

     Although Swift is only in the chorus and the bridge, her understated and patient  vocals still stand out. She will let him figure out what he needs and won’t push him. She believes he is a good, loving person even  if he doesn’t. She can relate to him. She wasn’t always the openhearted young woman that she is now.

      The complex “Half of My Heart” takes a realistic approach to love at first sight.

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