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John Mayer Offers First Listen to "Battle Studies" Single "Who Says"

September 25, 2009 12:01 PM ET

John Mayer premiered the first single off his new album Battle Studies, "Who Says," on his official Website, alerting fans to his new song with a tweet that reads, "From my heart to yours." The sweet little acoustic folk ballad starts off innocently, reminding fans of Continuum favorites like "Stop This Train" and "Heart of Life." And as Mayer tells Rolling Stone in our new issue, the song's opening line — "Who says I can't get stoned?" — is equally innocent.

"When I sing it, I do not think about marijuana — I think about walking around your house naked with a guitar," Mayer says. "It's about being in control of the pleasure in your life."

Musically, "Who Says" accomplishes what Mayer says he set out to do on his follow-up to 2006's soulful and introspective Continuum: Make a pop album, or "a record where you could sing any of the songs in an American Idol audition," as Mayer tells RS.

Battle Studies also features "Heartbreak Warfare," a pop-soul tune that may or may not be about Mayer's tabloid-fixture relationship with actress Jennifer Aniston. Taylor Swift will also make an appearance on the album, singing a Fleetwood Mac-esque duet with Mayer called "Half of My Heart." For much more on Battle Studies, due out November 17th, be sure to check out the new issue of Rolling Stone, and to read up on over 40 of the biggest albums dropping this autumn, be sure to check out our Fall Music Preview.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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