John Mayer released The Search For Everything today, four years after his 2013 Paradise Valley. While the time gap is not suggestive of Mayer taking any sort of musical break, it’s clear, through these twelve tracks, that the time was spent working on himself. In a new interview with NPR, Mayer describes the destruction of fame, living in the public eye, and how he got over it. “Just die and come back to life,” he says emphatically.

These new tracks paint the picture of an artist seeking to relate to the many, rather than the one. This is his “version” of a pop record, but he’s not writing pop music – per se. It’s a personal reflection not of his musical abilities, but of his inner quest to better himself. He speaks eloquently of the sparks of inspiration, finding himself writing pages and pages while standing in a bathroom, or spending Christmas alone in an RV in Joshua Tree, just purging. This record seems to be the culmination of these experiences, and the difficulties that have shaped his hardships. “Your true life exists in between the period of time where you stop being an ass and something kills you. That’s your life, and I just started my life,” he says.

Listen to the record below:

While several of these songs were released in February and have been displayed on his current tour, there were a few new tracks that explain a lot about Mayer’s contemporary moment.

About “In The Blood,” he says, “I guess I made a deal with myself that if I was gonna go that honest on a song, I wasn’t gonna necessarily be a liability to it and color it in. But suffice to say that when I heard that one come back, it was like, holy — had a fist in the air.”

He continues, “When you’re writing, you’re just trying to hear a part of yourself that you can identify — identify itself to you. When I listened to that back, it was like an anthem for me, about me, and I went — I just had a fist in the air for any time it would play, I’d just be like — there it is.”

About “Theme from “The Search For Everything”, he explains, ” I wrote this instrumental on Christmas Day in Joshua Tree. … I had this RV, I drove it out to Joshua Tree ’cause I had nobody and nothing. I was like — I’m gonna go to Joshua Tree for Christmas, I’m not gonna be sad in an environment that reminds me of a thing I don’t have. I’m going out in the middle of nowhere. And I wasn’t sure why I went, and once I got there I was kind of upset. It was really windy, I was watching The Big Lebowski in the middle of nowhere. Nobody was there, there were no bonfires.”

He continues, “I thought maybe there’d be bonfires and a world of disenfranchised people meeting together — nothing, it’s a parking lot. … I woke up Christmas morning, and I had brought my ProTools stuff and my little recording rig, and I just started playing the guitar. And I was staring at Jumbo Rock right out of the window of the RV, and I just sat there and played this melody. And then I forgot about it. And then I opened up my computer one day and played it back and I went, “Oh, this is beautiful.” ‘Cause I drove away from Joshua Tree going, “Nothing happened this week, this was some sad-sack stuff.” And then when I laid it out as a song and played it, I went, “Oh, this is gonna go in the middle of the record.”

Mayer goes on to reveal: “I will say one more thing that people don’t know about the record. The record started with this poem, and the poem’s in the middle — there’s a much longer poem that you will see more of in the future.”

“It says, ‘How sad it is that time should pass, her majesty the hourglass. We take the sand of bygone years and make mud of it with all our tears. What is now compared to then and will I ever love again? The answer to that question brings the endless search for everything.’ And the day I stood in a bathroom and I stood there for one hour … and I just kept writing, kept writing, kept writing, kept writing — and these little couplets and — and I was like, “Oh, that’s the mission statement for this record.”

And here we are. John Mayer is very much John Mayer. He is not the pop icon he once was, he has not gone fully Grateful Dead, he is not trying to be Neil Young, or anyone else for that matter.

Mayer is currently on his The Search For Everything websitetour, performing multiple sets with a full band, one with the Trio, and one acoustic. For more information, head to his .

Read the full interview on NPR right here.