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John Mayer's third studio album follows the multi-platinum "Room for Squares" (2001) and "Heavier Things" (2003), and marks his first turn as producer. It is his most soulful, cohesive collection yet and he says it's no accident that this project is where all of his efforts, his potential, and his disparate influences fully come together.
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That said, (I'm editing my review on 11/25/06)... Now that I've listened to this CD a million times, I can see a definite process of discovery in my listening... first I fell in love with "I'm gonna find another you," and that blew me away for a while. At the same time, I didn't really get a couple of the songs... maybe due to their melodic simplicity, which really belied their true complexity. Now I have completely "gotten" those songs and love them too. After the initial discovery process (listening at the computer or in my car), I progressed to the true test: listening in bed, with headphones, at three in the morning, while reading the lyrics. At this stage I realized how completely genius this album really is. I "got" "Waiting on the World to Change" in a way that I hadn't previously. I also changed my favorite song on the album to "Belief"... in my opinion that might be the best song John ever wrote. I came to REALLY appreciate his expertise on the guitar and vocals on the challenging Hendrix tune, "Bold as Love." I came to REALLY appreciate John's wonderful vocal range, including his great falsetto, as well as the exceptional choir-like backup vocals on many of the songs.
After listening to this CD about ten times, I was still thinking that "Heavier Things" might be my favorite CD of John's. Now that I've matured in my listening of it... there is no question in my mind that this is John's best CD. If he ever reads these reviews, I would want to thank him personally for taking us along on this journey with him. It's a great ride!
From the very first listen, Continuum bowled me over. Gone are the candy lyrics and pop sounds. This record is in a slow, bluesy style with excellent electric guitar all the way through. The greatest thing about this cd is how it flows. Very smooth and each songs transitions well into the next.
My favorite track is probably "Stop this Train." I love the lyrics of this song and the simple acoustic accompaniment. If I had to pick a least favorite song, it would have to be the Hendrix' cover, "Bold as Love." I don't hate this song by any means, but I like it less than the rest of the cd. This is more a positive reflection on the quality of the cd than a negative reflection on "Bold as Love."
All said, I think this cd is terrific. John Mayer has a huge amount of potential and this cd is the first of many good things to come, I'm sure. I just hope that John isn't so hell-bent on escaping his goody two-shoes pop image, that he foolishly goes in the opposite direction and someday becomes a casualty of the rock and roll lifestyle.
*** It is now September of 2007. One thing has changed since I did this review, and that is my appreciation for the Hendrix cover, "Bold as Love." It took a while to grow on me, but now I can really appreciate it as being a valuable part of the cd. For my ears, Continuum is still the best pop cd to come out over the last few years, and I'm still thoroughly enjoying it. ***