Released on September 12, 2006, John Mayer's Continuum
is a recording full of reverential and derivative music. This is his third studio album following his multi-platinum Room for Squares
(2001) and Heavier Things
(2003), and he is currently on a world tour promoting it — next stop, Dubai
, the new Las Vegas of the Middle East.
Any true rocker will quickly relegate Continuum to the dinner music category. Mayer's laid back white guy blues style, and his voice, reminiscent of Dave Matthews', can lull anyone into amiable conversation and an insightful view of the world. But if you give this album a few devoted listenings, you might find yourself tapping your foot and humming along with Mayer's catchy tunes, probably because they all sound so familiar.
While Mayer's music on this release is obviously derivative of many fine singer songwriters, Mayer himself is all about the lyrics. While listening to Continuum,
you might find yourself humming along to the first song on this recording, also the first single from this release, "Waiting on the World to Change"
, with the words "People get ready, there's a train a coming, you don't need no baggage, you just get on board," from Curtis Mayfield's
1964 brilliant hit song "
People Get Ready."
When listening to other Mayer songs, you might find yourself thinking of Van Morrison, Leon Russell, and Paul Simon. Being compared to the cream of the '60-'70s singer songwriters is no low blow. But Mayer needs to develop his own sound, not favor the songs, tunes, and styles of others for his own material. With this issue in mind, this reviewer won't be surprised to hear Mayer's next release will feature a bigger horn
section a la Morrison, the addition of an acoustic piano player a la Leon Russell, or the collaboration with African and other World music artists a la Paul Simon. It would all be more inviting were Mayer to find his own unique musical style instead of borrowing from other masters of the singer songwriter genre.