Inside Wants Out is the debut extended play (EP) and very first overall release by American blues rock musician John Mayer. Released by Mayer Music on September 24, 1999, the album was later re-released by Columbia Records on August 2, 2002 with the omission of "Neon 12:47 AM". The songs "Back to You", "No Such Thing", "My Stupid Mouth", and "Neon" were later re-recorded for Mayer's 2001 full-length debut album Room for Squares.
Mayer enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of nineteen. After two semesters, he chose to cut his studies short, and at the urging of his college friend and Atlanta native, Clay Cook, the two moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Quickly making a name for their two-man band, LoFi Masters, they began their career in earnest there, frequenting the local coffee house and club circuit in venues like Eddie’s Attic. Cook has said, however, that they began to experience musical differences due to Mayer’s desire to take the duo in more of a pop direction. The two parted ways, and Mayer embarked on a solo career.
With the help of local producer and engineer Glenn Matullo, Mayer recorded the independent EP Inside Wants Out. Cook is also cited as the co-writer of four of the songs from the EP, most notably, Mayer's first commercial single release, "No Such Thing". The EP includes eight songs, all with Mayer on lead vocals and guitars, with the exception of "Comfortable" in which Mayer only recorded the vocals. For the opening track, "Back to You", a full band was enlisted, including the EP’s co-producer David "DeLa" LaBruyere on bass guitars. Mayer and LaBruyere then began to tour throughout Georgia and the surrounding states.
Critical response to Inside Wants Out, that came mostly after the Columbia re-release, was warm and optimistic. David Thigpen (with Rolling Stone) called the album's sound "the greatest pop sound of all time, melodically rich tunes that weave folk, blues, rock and jazz." Gavin Edwards gave the album three out of five stars and said, "Mayer's gift for melody was already in full effect on this record."