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Continuum

John Mayer

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iTunes Review

“Waiting on the World to Change,” the opening song on John Mayer’s impressive Continuum, is an observant reflection on the political detachment and ambivalence many people of his generation share: “Now we see everything that’s going wrong/With the world and those who lead it/We just feel like we don’t have the means/To rise above and beat it,” he sings. Aside from being an excellent single, the song also marks a noticeable maturity in Mayer’s songwriting and arranging, and the rest of the album lives up to its promise. Rather than try to overpower listeners with the kind of flashy guitar he’s capable of (for proof, check out his two live albums), he and his stripped-down rhythm section (along with some guests on piano, organ, and horns) set up these introspective, mostly low-key songs slowly and deliberately, and it’s clear that considerable effort went into the lyrics and the song construction. All of the songs were written or co-written by Mayer, with the exception of the Jimi Hendrix’s classic, “Bold as Love,” which gives him a chance to boost the volume and show off his considerable guitar chops. With a pair of platinum-selling albums and three Grammys already under his belt, one might have expected Mayer to coast a bit here. Instead, he did the opposite, making Continuum a soulful, sincere release from an artist determined not just to get bigger, but better.

Customer Reviews

It's Not a Silly Little Moment, it's Not the Storm before the Calm

There hasn’t been an artist this decade that has changed more musically than John Mayer granted he has yet to have a U2 type transformation yet, but the effort is there. Mayer started out his career, to some, as a solo Dave Matthews knock-off. And as much as his major label debut, Room for Squares, was pop perfection, he didn’t rest on his laurels for the follow-up Heavier Things. As the title suggested Mayer moved on from the safe world of pop-rock and made music more in the vain of his guitar idol some of which he even had the chance to play with over the years. To descend even deeper into the blues, Mayer recruited two heavy hitting studio and touring musicians in Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino to form the John Mayer Trio and tour behind a mix of new songs, cover tunes, and even made some of Mayer songs even bluesier. Now Mayer is back to being a solo artist with the release of Continuum. The album does rehash a couple of the songs that were recorded for the live album the trio made, but Gravity and Vultures sound better now that they are polished up especially the latter which features a more crisper Mayer falsetto. It’s just the Trio again as the cover Jimi Hendrix’s Bold as Love but this studio version sounds a little overproduced and a Hendrix song should never sound overproduced. The band has done killer live version (you can find a version on a music service not named iTunes from the Tsunami Relief Benefit telethon) and may have benefited from putting a live version on the album instead. And just like its predecessor, the latest album Continuum lives up to its name as instead of making another blues album, this latest outing has much more of a soul vibe to it like on I Don’t Trust Myself where Mayer croons over silky horns and a mellow beat. Aside from his musical growth, Continuum can also point to Mayer’s growth as a person as he deals with many grown up themes including not one, but two song with political commentaries. First up is the album opener and lead single Waiting on the World to Change. In the song Mayer brilliantly sums up the conscience of whatever you want to call the generation born in the late seventies to the early eighties highlighted by the line “It’s not that we don’t care, we just know that the fight ain’t fair.” Later there is Belief, featuring Ben Harper on guitar, where Mayer sums up all the wars in the world, most over religion, in Belief where he sings, “We’re never gonna win the world, we’re never gonna stop the war, we’re never gonna beat this if belief is what we’re fighting for.” Aside from the state of the world, Mayer takes stock of the state of his own life in Stop this Train featuring a dude from Maroon 5 who contributed some acoustic guitars, singing lines like, “So scare of getting older, I’m only good at being young.” I feel ya Johnny, I really hate this whole getting old thing too. For those who prefer Mayer’s lovelorn songs, just head to the back of the album starting with Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, a song that you will undoubtedly be hitting the back button multiple times until you realized after an hour it would have been easier just to have hit repeat. I’m going to go ahead and call it right now that this song will replace You’re Beautiful from last year (as well as You & Me from two years ago) as the song that every television show plays at some romantic juncture for added effect (just think had Rescue Me played this song at the end of the season finale this year and how much more fitting it would have been). The song also has the potential to be this decade’s token mistake love song (see Crash into Me for the nineties; Every Breathe You Take for the eighties). For all of you that were teenage girls when Mayer first broke and flocked to his shows only to drown out ever word he sang as you shouted over him, prepare to shout, “Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand,” (Dreaming with a Broken Heart) and “I’m in repair, I’m not together but I’m getting there,” (In Repair) the next time Mayer visits your town.

TBTR: Track by Track Review of Continuum

Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge John Mayer and now a John Mayer Trio fan for two main reasons: 1 – John can write good music AND sing it, 2- His guitarplaying is incredible. 1.) Waiting on the World to Change - I first heard this about two months ago, and it didn’t overly impress me. It is well-written, but in my opinion, it resembles (musically) “Clarity” way too much. The tune is also very simple and not incredibly original. I will still give him props because the words are very thorough and his arrangement is impressive. This is also somewhat of a political statement from Mayer. (4 stars) 2.) I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You) – …Just listen to the solid, soothing, blues-y intro. Then, listen to the catchy verse and chorus. Mayer’s songwriting has obviously matured and improved since the last album, and this is an amazing example. (5 stars) 3.) Belief – Guitar intro is somewhat repetitive, but it completely appropriate. Mayer again brings his political opinion to the table. Catchy tune, overall a very good tune from the Mayer. (5 stars) 4.) Gravity – As a JM3 fan, it is exciting to finally hear the studio version of such an awesome track. Gravity is a jazzy, slow-paced, ballad. Simple, but meaningful words help you easily see into Mayer’s world. Catchy, and well-produced. (5 stars) 5.) The Heart of Life – Oh wow. This is my personal favorite track. It can literally bring you to tears. A very heartfelt, well-composed, and quiet track. The chorus is beautiful lyrically and musically. This is sure to be a classic. (5 stars) 6.) Vultures – Another JM3 favorite. Blues-y riffs complimented by a catchy tune and a super-catchy chorus. Mayer here shows off a little bit of the guitarwork that he is so well-known for. This track is also expertly produced and has just the right amount of everything. (5 stars) 7.) Stop This Train – This reminds me of the Room For Squares material. An acoustic piece with a catchy tune. The lyrics are once again very very good. (5 stars) 8.) Slow Dancing in a Burning Room – This track’s intro is swallowed in the beautiful harmony created by Mayer’s pro guitarwork. Rumor says this will follow “Waiting on the World to Change” as the second radio single from Continuum. The lyrics are bittersweet and very emotional. The guitar effects are once again calm, cool, and collect as Mayer whips out another five-star track. (5 stars) 9.) Bold As Love – I will give Mayer credit for reintroducing the John Mayer Trio style here as the album begins its close. It is not quite as catchy as the past tracks, but it is true to the new, mature John Mayer style. The guitarwork is grade-A, as usual. It really depends on your personal taste, but this song is more of a “skip” track to me. (3 stars) 10.) Dreaming With a Broken Heart – Here, Mayer brings out a piano ballad with all-around decent lyrics and tune. The chord progression is well-composed and original. The chorus is also pretty catchy. An all-around decent track. (4 stars) 11.) In Repair – Another solid track, with another creative chord progression. The chorus has sort of a Coldplay feel, which again is different and creative for Mayer. It can also seem somewhat boring, even though it is a very good song and is fit for such an album. The guitar solo at the end is excellent. (4 stars) 12.) I’m Gonna Find Another You – A short and sweet ending to an honest effort from the Mayer. Well-written, yet it makes the ending almost awkward in the way that it just… ends. Still, I have no complaints about this specific track. (5 stars) Final score: 4.58, rounded to a 5. Need I say more? If you like well-written music, blues-y music, John Mayer or John Mayer Trio music, or even music in general, make sure you get a copy. Total: 4.58 -> 5 stars

John's third first album... And the greatest yet.

Words can't explain this album, unless they're John's. Following in the footsteps lyrically of Heavier Things and Room for Squares, John has cleaned up his somewhat confused bluesey sounds of the Trio and has released what I would easily consider his greatest album yet. The tracks vary from the slower, heartfelt "Stop This Train" and "Heart of Life", sure to be listener favorites, to the more bolder and adventurous "Belief" and "Can't Take that Plane" (only available to pre-order customers.) Also on the album are a few of the Trio songs re-worked in the studio, which have a totally new life and sound on this record. I at first had trouble listening to some of Try!'s tracks, but now they fit right in with John's signature sound. This album is a must-own for any Mayer fan, but should definitely be checked out for anyone looking for a good way to lose themselves in a musical masterpiece.

Biography

Born: October 16, 1977 in Bridgeport, CT

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After making his introduction as a sensitive, acoustic-styled songwriter on 2001's Room for Squares, John Mayer steadily widened his approach over the subsequent years, encompassing everything from blues-rock to adult contemporary in the process. Arriving during the tail end of teen pop's heyday, he crafted pop music for a more discerning audience, spiking his songcraft with jazz chords and literate turns of phrase. The combination proved to be quite popular, as Room for Squares went triple platinum...
Full Bio

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