John Mayer won the Best Rock Video award at this past weekend’s MTV VMAs for his ’80s-styled clip for Last Train Home.
The opening cut from his new album, Sob Rock, Last Train Home – as is the case for the whole album – boasts a heavy ’80s yacht-rock influence, particularly from Toto, and their session king guitarist, Steve Lukather.
The song’s video – which itself features Toto percussionist Lenny Castro and former Toto touring keyboardist Greg Phillinganes – is just as breezy, and reminiscent of the era, as the song itself.
Based on the typically cheeky treatment Mayer wrote for the video – which he posted on Instagram upon receiving the award – that’s exactly what the guitar virtuoso had in mind.
“I’m honored, and I’m way more excited than I’m acting,” Mayer wrote of the honor on social media.
“Everyone knows a great music video begins with a great music video treatment, and this – no joke – is the one I wrote and submitted to detail my exact artistic blueprint for what would become 2021 MTV VMAs Best Rock Video winner.”
The video’s popularity – it’s accumulated over 9 million views on YouTube in the three months and change since its premiere – is indicative of the quality of Last Train Home as a song, which stands out even when you peel away the video’s tongue-in-cheek, somewhat meme-y exterior.
“The songs, compositionally, had to be strong on their own, no matter how you played them,” Mayer recently told Guitar World in response to a question about the prevalence of ’80s-style instrumentation and production on Sob Rock.
“The songs don’t rely on the sounds, and that’s really important. Last Train Home works on an acoustic guitar and a vocal as well as it does behind the lens of this idea that, just for one record, I want to go back to what I might’ve sounded like in that era. But it’s still a song of mine.”