Third album from American sing-songwriter.
John Mayer's third studio album, 'Continuum' is preceded by an ambitious proposal from the singer himself who says "with any trilogy the third in the series blows it open", fighting talk if I've ever heard it! Released on Columbia this album is clearly being regarded as a 'breakthrough' for Mayer, something particularly evident after consulting his extensive list of guest work with the likes of The Dixie Chicks and Eric Clapton. Fresh from a joint headline tour with Sheryl Crow, Mayer is clearly launching himself towards the big time.
Opening with the soulful breeze of 'Waiting On The World To Change', a song with an obvious message about trying to overthrow the system, and yet another song dealing with the political apathy amongst the younger generations. Delivered in a smooth, blues tinged style. 'I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)' follows a similar pattern, although the content and the laidback, jamming style provide a better pairing than on the opening track. 'Belief' is an instantly forgettable song in exactly the same vein as the previous two, and on 'Gravity' the pace reaches a near standstill. This song comes across as ideal for a seduction soundtrack, with its smoky atmosphere and harmonies, but there is little else to say about its hackneyed lyrics such as "gravity wants to bring me down".
'The Heart of Life' is the album's first real high point for this listener, with a more acoustic guitar-led song which sounds sincere but is weakened somewhat by the rhyming lyrics, which if you listen too closely makes the content feel forced. Unfortunately 'Vultures' returns to the tried and tested sound on display for the rest of the album up to this point, with yet another mediocre soul song, with more annoyingly rhyme conscious lyrics. 'Stop This Train' is a more appealing song, an acoustic led number which seems genuine, purely for seeming more understated than the rest of this album which at times is in danger of being considered very pompous. Although the lyrics still follow an obvious rhyming pattern, lines such as "I don't want to see my parents go, one generation's length away from fighting life on our own" appear heartfelt. With the style of the songs seeming to alternate it is no surprise to find 'Slow Dancing in A Burning Room' is very soulful ballad, with a brief guitar solo, and little else to differentiate it from a handful of other songs on this album. 'Bold As Love' is a guitar heavy Jimi Hendrix cover, another soul-tinged song, which retains the sluggish pace firmly established by this point.
'Dreaming With A Broken Heart' is a piano led song, which begins with the lines "When you're dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part". This song is subtle and here the content seems authentic, leading me to the conclusion that for the most part it isn't Meyer's song writing or singing which lets this album down, but its lacklustre delivery, which gives the album too much of a detached feel. The strongest song lyrically, this acts as enough of a persuasion to persevere and sit out the remaining songs. 'In Repair' is unremarkable, and 'I'm Gonna Find Another You' is very similar, so perhaps I should have listened to that impulse after all.
This album isn't awful, but it's far from sublime, and suffers greatly from the sheen of its production and delivery, making the sentiments of the songs often seem contrived. Several songs stand alone but far too many are mere drudgery.