Thursday, 16 June 2011

Random Review #70 John Mayer - Continuum

C4S4CD1 John Mayer is a bit of a contradiction, an old gnarled blues slinger trapped in the body of one of ‘LA’s beautiful people’. If he’s ever interviewed Mayer sees himself as a guitarist who sings in order to get his music heard but really all he wants to do is play guitar.

He started as a bit of a teenage pin-up and over the years has used his looks to court the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, but really none of that interests me it’s his music I’m interested in and that’s what I’ll be talking about go read one of the gossip mags if you want to know about his love life.

This was the first album I bought of Mayer’s and it was his fifth album and as I’m prone to do if I like an artist then I’ll search out his back catalogue. I think his early work leads him to this album and the previous album Try! (The John Mayer Trio) released the year before this album (2005) really shows the leap he made from his ‘younger years’ and bridges the gap to the new more mature Mayer (I mean musically here) that I love.

Try! The live album is Mayer tipping his hat to Cream and all the other Blues power trios of the past, stripped to a very basic level with nowhere to hide, Try! Finds Mayer in his element and also trying out some of the songs that would appear on Continuum, he also takes a stab at covering I Got A Woman by Ray Charles, the clever thing he does is starts be singing the hook from Gold Digga by Kanye West before breaking into the Charles song, and therefore without giving the audience a musical history lesson shows where West had got his hook. I think Mayer is proud of America’s Blues heritage and wants people to know this.

So to Continuum, my favourite Mayer album filled with songs use in America drama’s from CSI to Greys Anatomy, if you’re looking for a song to soundtrack a emotional moment in a film there are plenty to choose from here. It feels to me that Mayer grew up on this album his song writing really taking shape, Gravity, Vultures, Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Waiting For The World To Change, and Dreaming With A Broken Heart all deserve mention, but truthfully there isn’t a duff track on this album.

In the liner notes Mayer thanks Eric Clapton for letting him pinch his style, and you can see the similarities between Clapton and Mayer, both are guitarists that found their voice, both have been seen with the world’s most beautiful women on their arm, it seems that Mayer has used Clapton as a blueprint for his career (without the drink and drugs) in and outside of the recording studio.

I have a feeling that as Mayer gets older he will immerse himself more and more in the Blues, but at the moment sit back and enjoy his music for what it nicely crafted soft rock tunes with a big dollop of Blues guitar dropped on them every now and again!

Mark 8/10

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