John Mayer Suggests His Purported Diss Track About Taylor Swift Was ‘A Little B***hy’

The Paper Doll singer recently reflected on the 2013 tune, which fans have long interpreted as a dig at his former flame.
John Mayer and Taylor Swift pictured in 2009
John Mayer and Taylor Swift pictured in 2009
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

John Mayer is looking back on his 2013 song Paper Doll, which fans have long interpreted as a dig at fellow singer and former flame Taylor Swift.

John performed the decade-old tune during a concert in Sacramento, California, on Saturday — the very same day that reports emerged about Taylor calling it quits with boyfriend Joe Alwyn after six years together.

In clips of the show circulating online, John suggested that the song’s “sarcastic bitchy” lyrics were misunderstood by disapproving fans, who didn’t see that it came from a place of “hurt”.

“I wonder if people don’t like it because it sounds a little pissed off. I don’t really like ‘pissed off.’ ... I think it was more ‘hurt,’” he told the crowd.

“But is there something about it that’s a little bitchy?” he wondered aloud.

“There might be. I try not to get bitchiness in the songs, and it happens sometimes. ... I guess I don’t do it very well, ‘sarcastic bitchy,’” John said.

Paper Doll debuted a decade ago as an apparent response to a tune Taylor released in 2010, after the pair’s brief romance reportedly came to an end. On that track, titled Dear John, Taylor appeared to recall warnings she had received about a onetime lover, with others urging her to “run as fast as you can.”

In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, John blasted Taylor for her lyrics, saying they “humiliated” him. When his own song dropped the following year, it included the line “You’re like 22 girls in one, and none of them know what they’re running from.”

Despite the speculation, John has never confirmed that Paper Doll is about Swift. In 2019, he tiptoed around the gossip in an Instagram Live video, telling fans that his track wasn’t about the person they thought it was.

“When Paper Doll came out, 100 percent of the people believed it was about somebody. And the person that they thought it was about brought a certain amount of superficial pop culture back-and-forth about it that I think kind of shat on the song,” he said.

“But the song was not about that person,” John added.

Elsewhere in the Instagram video, he said that the track “didn’t get the credit it deserved” because listeners “thought it was a shot.”

“I had to let it go,” he added.

John is currently performing for crowds as part of his Solo Acoustic Tour. For her part, Taylor recently launched the Eras Tour — her first time heading a concert tour since 2018.


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