John Mayer Says New Single ‘Who Says’ Isn’t About Marijuana

'It's actually about freedom and living your life,' singer/songwriter says.

[artist id="1220799"]John Mayer[/artist] knows that people are making assumptions about his latest single, “Who Says” (from November’s Battle Studies album), which begins with the line, “Who says I can’t get stoned?”

“I can’t lie about that,” he told MTV News when asked about the song’s lyrical content. “It sort of plays with your perception a little bit, and it starts out and you go, ‘Oh, is he being campy?’ But if you stay with the song long enough, then you start to realize it’s not about marijuana. It’s actually about freedom and living your life.”

The video for the song, which premiered on Wednesday (October 14), is a glossy kaleidoscope of party moments paired with scenes of Mayer alone in his apartment, cleaning up and playing guitar. And he says those two images of his life are at the heart of the song.

“It starts out where you go, ‘Oh, I get it. You’re going to be like the male Amy Winehouse here,’ but then it gets sweet,” he explained. “And I think the sweetness takes over and you begin to trust the message.”

Mayer claims he didn’t want it to be controversial for the sake of controversy. “It’s like, people don’t like things that are purposeful shocking; they feel abused by it. So, at first I can understand people would think it’s purposefully trying to be boisterous … but by the time the solo kicks in, you’re like, ‘This guy might be from the heart right now,’ ” he said. “And by the last chorus I feel like you go, ‘OK, I get it.’ ”

Mayer said he feels everyone is too concerned with their images these days, and he blames the Internet and gossip blogs for that.

“We live in what I call ‘The Hatrex,’ ” he said. “It’s this Internet matrix … fake-world people criticizing other people and putting other people down in their heads. And for me, it was like, this is a cool little song. I’m going to use it to tell people to sit down and the shut the eff up … and let me buy you a beer.”