Sound — 10
After the success of the Try! album and tour with the John Mayer Trio, Mayer himself went back to the studio with Trio drummer Steve Jordan to create Continuum, his third album, and the first to be made in Mayer's latest blues-rocker guise. On the subject of the album, Mayer has remarked that working on this album has been the first time where he 'wasn't half-assed.' This personal realisation that his previous albums were not all they could have been to Mayer makes the marked change in tone and feel of this album a revelation. Throughout the album Mayer plays the blues-influenced soul-man, and pulls it off with thrilling results. Opening track and Grammy-award winning single 'Waiting on the world to change' sets his stall out with good effect, Mayer's voice has never sounded so good, and backed by some breezy pop, makes for a good transition from the acoustic-pop of 'Heavier Things.' The first half of the album is nothing less than spectacular, in fact; 'Belief', 'Gravity' and 'Vultures' stand out as instant classics, placing Mayer in the company of his legendary peers/heroes Clapton, Hendrix and Vaughan, 'Vultures' even conjuring vague images of The Eagles at their slinkiest. Even when Mayer digs out his acoustic guitar, such is the change in influence and style on this album that 'Stop This Train' a lovely song for his parents, has a blues slant in its forceful picking of the strings. Mayer clearly doesn't want to sit back and strum anymore. The whole feel of the album is warm and laid-back yet focussed, making it Mayer's best sounding album at least. What is more impressive is that he now has classic songs at his disposal.
Lyrics — 9
Mayer is a clever songwriter, and his lyrics, whilst almost always about relationships (though he does stray into the quasi-political on 'Waiting...'), use thoughtful metaphors and very human sentiments. This is a man clearly who thinks a lot and has a very balanced point-of-view. There are songs on the subject of his own muse; 'Gravity' and 'Vultures', society's ills; 'Waiting on the world to change' and personal issues; 'Belief' as well as the love songs 'Dreaming With A Broken Heart' and 'I'm Gonna Find Another You'.
Overall Impression — 10
This was the first John Mayer album I listened to, and upon sitting through it the first time, I was literally blown away at both the musicianship and feel of the record, and the songs. The songs are fantastic, and it confuses me that I hadn't come across his music sooner, as this is one of the best albums not just of 2006, but of the 21st century so far. It works best as a complete entity, with stand-out songs of course, that fit seemlessly into what I see as a flawless record. A modern classic in every sense, people don't make albums like this anymore, which can only be a compliment to John Mayer in what he wanted to achieve with this record.