Hey there, this is Teacher Ola Podcast episode 90. Learn English With John Mayer ‘New Light’

My name’s Ola and I am an online English teacher, I teach through one to one classes and I want you to know I believe you can eliminate your language blockade. I’ve overcome a massive blockade myself and I know how to do it. This podcast is for you if you’re an English learner who wants to speak English with more confidence and get rid of speaking barriers. You’ll boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar, improve your pronunciation.  Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Hello to you! I’m thrilled you’re here. John Mayer, huh? The song we’re going to dismantle today reminds me of long summer nights. They’re certainly in order since the weather is so gloomy these days when I’m recording. I hope now, when you hear it it’s beautiful and sunny. 

‘New Light’, let’s first hear about some song facts and then we’ll look closer at the words and phrases. Stay with me till the very end cause we’re going to practice repeating 15 additional sentences. Useful, everyday sentences.

The song is about John’s love and affection for a woman who is uninterested in him. The chorus is about the singer begging this mystery woman to give him “just one night” so she might see him “in a new light.” Lyrics are great but the best part of the song, however, is the trademark blues style along with the vintage, groovy beat. The song premiered in 2018. It was written and produced by Mayer and No I.D..  No I.D. is an American hip hop and R&B music producer. He has worked with Alicia Keys, Usher, Bow Wow, Kayne West, Jay-Z, Rihanna and many more. The video directed by Fatal Farm premiered on May 24 and Mayer joked about it on Instagram, saying, “I needed to make a video for ‘New Light’ but nobody could agree on a budget, so I went to a place downtown and made this with a company that usually does birthday and Bar Mitzvah videos.” The effect is pretty impressive in my view. 

Ok, time to listen and repeat the lyrics We will stop from every few lines to learn something useful. Let’s begin.

I’m the boy in your other phone

Lighting up inside your drawer at home all alone

Pushing 40 in the friend zone

We talk and then you walk away every day

I’m the boy in your other phone – everything is open for interpretation but I guess, and let me know what you think, to me this other phone is the old one, the phone she used when she was younger and when their friendship was, so to speak, active. She seems to not have his number in her new phone, ok? So, she is clearly not interested in him. The word ‘other’ in this sentence means ‘the second of two things’. The other phone is the second phone you own, the one you don’t use that much or the one you don’t use at all, the old one. 

Lighting up inside your drawer – this phone, the other phone is tucked in the drawer, and it’s lightning up because he is texting her, or calling her. No response. Ok, so a couple of things here. 

Firstly pronunciation, the word ‘drawer’ is pronounced in two ways, either /drɔː(r)/ or  /drɔːr/. Notice that we don’t pronounce the letter ‘w’, it’s a silent letter. There’s no /ow/ sound nor /aw/ sound in this word. It’s just a drawer. Also, if somebody’s eyes or face light up, or something lights them up, they show happiness or excitement. For example His eyes lit up when she walked into the room.

Pushing 40 in the friend zone – He complains that he is almost 40 and still he hasn’t done anything to let her know he’s interested in her. He’s been waiting far too long. He’s getting older and older. So, what age are you? Are you pushing 40? Are you pushing 30? What age are you getting closer to? The other meaning, and that in my opinion makes this song interesting, so the other meaning is the speed. Maybe he has decided to go faster, he is pushing 40 mph now, he is going to crash this friend zone driving straight at it at 40 mph which is about 65 km per hour. In my opinion it’s about age but now you now that you can use ‘pushing’ with reference to speed. 

Let’s get back to the lyrics, listen and repeat out loud:

Oh you don’t think twice bout me

And maybe you’re right to doubt me but

But if you give me just one night

You’re gonna see me in a new light

Yeah if you give me just one night

To meet you underneath the moonlight

You don’t think twice bout me – ‘bout’ is just a shortened version of ‘about’, meaning stays the same. Bout me, about me. Same thing. To think twice about something or someone means to give careful consideration to something or someone. She doesn’t think about him much. Think twice, consider something carefully before making a decision. 

You’re right to doubt me – you’re right. In Polish we say ‘masz rację’, but mind that the verb is not ‘to have’, it’s ‘to be’. You are wrong, you are right. To doubt someone. To doubt is a verb, and once again, let me remind you the letter ‘b’ is silent. ‘Doubt’. To doubt someone means to not trust somebody or something; to not believe somebody. I doubt him, I don’t trust him.

But if you give me just one night, 

You’re gonna see me in a new light – What do we have here? Is that a conditional sentence? Oh, yes it is! I know how much you love conditional sentences. I have a whole series of episodes on them, the links are in the show notes to this episode. Go to teacherola.com/90 and find them. This sentence is the first conditional. If this surprises you, if you’re asking yourself why there is no ‘will’ in that sentence please revise the first conditional. It’s episode 36. Teacherola.com/36. If you give me just one night, you’re gonna see me in a new light. You’re gonna see a different me. You’re gonna look at me differently, from a different perspective. Perhaps you’ll stop perceiving me as a friend. To see someone in a new light. This is an idiom. It means to perceive, regard, or understand someone or something in a new, typically more positive way.

The lyrics, please listen and repeat. Out loud:

Oh I want a take two

I wanna break through

I wanna know the real thing about you

So I can see you in a new light

I wanna break through – to break through means to to make new and important discoveries, but here the meaning is different: to succeed in dealing with an attitude that somebody has and the difficulties it creates. She doesn’t perceive him as a prospective partner but only as a  friend. Old friend. He wants to break through her indifference. He wants to overcome her indifference and make her see him in a new light. 

The real thing about you – the real thing is a thing that is absolutely genuine or authentic. The original, best, or most typical example of something. He wants to know the real thing about her, the essence, the truth. 

Coming back to the lyrics, one last time. Listen and repeat:

Take a ride up to Malibu

I just wanna sit and look at you, look at you

What would it matter if your friends knew

Who cares what other people say anyway

Oh we can go far from here

And make a new world together babe

What do I do with all this

This love that’s running through my veins for you

Take a ride up to Malibu – Let’s go to Malibu. Let’s drive there.

What would it matter if your friends knew – conditional alert! One more example, but this time we’re dealing with the second conditional. Additionally, it’s a question. If you think you should practice such questions go to episode 40. 

Who cares – used to stress that something is not important. This phrase is used in spoken English to dismiss something because you are not interested in something or because it’s not important to you. 

Anyway – This word is used to end a conversation, to change the subject, or to resume a subject after interruption. This is so common. Anyways, oh, and by the way, you can add ‘s’, anyways and then change the subject. It is in fact being argued that this ‘s’ is a mistake, but it’s so widespread, no one can stop this now. Too late, grammar police! Ok, anyways. In this song the word ‘anyway’ is used differently. 

Who cares what other people say anyway. Anyway here means: whatever else is happening, without considering other things. In any case.

What do I do about this – What on Earth am I supposed to do about all this? My situation? The fact that I’m just a friend? What should one do? 

Love is running through my veins – love fills me up. In my veins I have love, it’s like blood. It gives me life. This love is within him. By the way. Can blood run? Well, when we use ‘run’ with liquids we mean that they flow. Blood flows, blood runs. 

This is the end of the song, and now it’s time for us to practice. You know the drill. I say the sentence you repeat after me and then I say it again, so that you can fix your sentence if you didn’t get it right at the first try. Listen, retain and repeat out loud.

I found one earring – do you know where the other one is?

What do you think you are doing, rummaging through my drawers?

His eyes lit up when she walked into the room.

Lynette is pushing 50.

He was driving way too fast, he was pushing 100kmph

If they offered me a job abroad, I wouldn’t think twice about taking it!

You’re clearly wrong.

I had no reason to doubt him.

I can now see the problem in a new light.

He had finally managed to break through her reserve.

The party’s new leader has proven herself to be the real thing.

Who do you think will win this season of X Factor?” “I don’t know. Who cares?”

Water was running all over the bathroom floor.

I didn’t expect her to say “yes,” but I asked her anyway.

Love is running through my veins.

My dear friend, you did so well! Thank you for being here, thank yourself for doing this! What a success. I hope you’ll not stop here. Please download the worksheet. This time we have a song, so you’re going to complete the missing words. Play the song, sing out loud and complete the gaps. If the worksheet is not in your inbox, you have to subscribe to my TOPeople list. Go to teacherola.com/90 and download the worksheet and get on that newsletter! It’s fun, it gives you a bit of motivation, suggestions and worksheet every Wednesday morning.

Let’s have all the phrases we’ve learned today listed. Ready? Let’s recap:

I’m the boy in your other phone –

Lightning up inside your drawer.

Pushing 40 in the friend zone

You don’t think twice bout me.

You’re right to doubt me

But if you give me just one night, 

You’re gonna see me in a new light 

I wanna break through 

The real thing about you

Take a ride up to Malibu 

What would it matter if your friends knew?

Who cares 


What do I do about this

Love is running through my veins.

That’s it for today! I hope you liked the episode, if you did, please leave your rating in iTunes. One more request, tell someone about this podcast and help me spread the message. 

Next time we’ll meet here to talk about grammar. Thanks for listening,  take care. Happy learning. Stay fearless and say it out loud. Bye-bye!