NEW John Mayer album: Continuum (it actually SOUNDS good!)

Discussion in 'Music' started by NickSo, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Not the music, but the actual production/mastering itself. It was produced by Mayer himself, along with Steve Jordan whom he played with in the John Mayer Trio.

    After the abysmal sounding Heavier Things album, this new one is a nice surprise. I ran a few tracks through Audacity to confirm visually what my ears heard. Very little compression, no clipping whatsoever.

    The music itself is great too; some favourites include Gravity (previously off the John Mayer Trio live album TRY!), and Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.

    Definitely less 'pop', and more mature sounding. More along the vein of the type of music Mayer enjoys playing.
     
  2. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

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    This is great news . . . and bucks a seriously disturbing trend. [​IMG]
     
  3. nickGreenwood

    nickGreenwood Second Unit

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    This album is easily in my top 3 albums of the year. I've been a fan of John's since he first came out with "Room For Squares" and have picked up everything he's put out since.

    The album does sound really nice, I did have one nitpick on the song "The Heart of Life" the guitar sounded a little high. Overall the album sounds great. Seems like both he and Steve Jordan know how to use Pro Tools (I'm assuming, in the booklet it shows his studio with a bunch of computers), maybe they should start giving classes. [​IMG]

    There's some really good bluesy songs on here, he didn't in fact "close up shop on acoustic stuff" like he said, there are two great little acoustic numbers on here. The first one "The Heart of Life" is very George Harrison sounding, right down to the lead guitar behind the acoustic guitar. I like John's cover of "Bold as Love" I think it's better than Jimi's (I'm not a Jimi fan, gimmie SRV anyday).

    There's some great guitar work on here, drums sound nice and crisp and vibrant, unlike some of the work I'd been hearing lately from musicians, only other release I've truly loved the drumming on is the Angels & Airwaves album.

    I would personally highly recommend the album, sounds to me like John took all that worked on "Room For Squares", the few great tracks on "Heavier Things" and the great bluesy stuff from "John Mayer Trio - Try!" and combined it all.
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Exactly my thoughts.
     
  5. ElevSkyMovie

    ElevSkyMovie Supporting Actor

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    Woo Hoo! I'm glad it's not overcompressed. I can't wait to pick this up!
     
  6. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Really?! I listened to it with headphones last night and wasn't crazy how the high hat sounded on a few songs...it seemed VERY "computer-ish" and digital sounding if that makes any sense.

    Other than that nitpicking, it's clearly his finest work to date. I've been a big fan of JM's and have been following his career closely and have been attending his shows since RFS. In reading most of what he's written about the writing process behind thid album over the past few years, it's obvious that he has labored over this album, but it's been a labor of love. He's really tried to make sure that every song is solid and there's no filler on the CD. I attended all 3 nights of the acoustic Eddie's Attic shows that he played in ATL back in December '05 and he debuted several of the songs there. Since then, they've gone through a maturing process and have gotten better with age. With this album, I think he's succeeded in spades. He's been pretty popular, but this one's gonna shoot him into the stratosphere.
     
  7. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    By the way, 4.5 stars out of 5 on Allmusic.com ain't too shabby! [​IMG]

    Allmusic.com Review:

    Anybody who was initially confused by singer/songwriter John Mayer's foray into blues with 2005's Try! John Mayer Trio Live in Concert could only have been further confounded upon listening to the album and coming to the realization that it was actually good. And not just kinda good, especially for guy who had been largely labeled as a Dave Matthews clone, but really, truthfully, organically as good as a blues album in its own right. However, for longtime fans who had been keeping tabs on Mayer, the turn might not have been so unexpected. Soon after the release of his 2003 sophomore album, the laid-back, assuredly melodic Heavier Things, Mayer began appearing on albums by such iconic blues and jazz artists as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and Herbie Hancock. And not just singing, but playing guitar next to musicians legendary on the instrument. In short, he was seeking out these artists in an attempt to delve into the roots of the blues, a music he obviously has a deep affection for.

    Rather than his blues trio being a one-off side project completely disconnected to his past work, it is clear now that it was the next step in his musical development. And truthfully, while Try! certainly showcases Mayer's deft improvisational blues chops, it's more of a blues/soul album in the tradition of such electric blues legends as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and features songs by Mayer that perfectly marry his melodic songcraft and his blues-slinger inclinations. In fact, what seemed at the time a nod to his largely female fan base (the inclusion of "Daughters" and "Something's Missing" off Heavier Things), was actually a hint that he was bridging his sound for his listeners, showing them where he was going.

    That said, nothing he did up until the excellent, expansive Try! could have prepared you for the monumental creative leap forward that is Mayer's 2006 studio effort Continuum. Working with his blues trio/rhythm section of bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan, along with guest spots by trumpeter Roy Hargrove and guitarist Ben Harper, Mayer brings all of his recent musical explorations and increasing talents as a singer/songwriter to bear on Continuum. Produced solely by Mayer and Jordan, the album is a devastatingly accomplished, fully realized effort that in every way exceeds expectations and positions Mayer as one of the most relevant artists of his generation.

    Adding weight to the notion that Mayer's blues trio is more than just a creative indulgence, he has carried over two tracks from the live album in "Vultures" and the deeply metaphorical soul ballad "Gravity." These are gut-wrenchingly poignant songs that give voice to a generation of kids raised on TRL teen stars and CNN sound bytes who've found themselves all grown up and fighting a war of "beliefs." Grappling with a handful of topics — social and political, romantic and sexual, pointedly personal and yet always universal in scope — Mayer's Continuum here earns a legitimate comparison to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On?. Nobody — not a single one of Mayer's contemporaries — has come up with anything resembling a worthwhile anti-war anthem that is as good and speaks for their generation as much as his "Waiting on the World to Change" — and he goes and hangs the whole album on it as the first single.

    It's a bold statement of purpose that is carried throughout the album, not just in sentiment, but also tone. Continuum is a gorgeously produced, brilliantly stripped-to-basics album that incorporates blues, soft funk, R&B, folk and pop in a sound that is totally owned by Mayer. It's no stretch when trying to describe the sound of Continuum to color it in the light of work by such legends as Sting, Eric Clapton, Sade, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Steve Winwood. In fact, the sustained adult contemporary tone of the album, which could easily have become turgid, boring, or dated never does, and brings to mind such classic late-'80s albums as Sting's Nothing Like the Sun, Clapton's Journeyman, and Vaughan's In Step.

    At every turn, Continuum finds Mayer to be a mature, thoughtful, and gifted musician who fully grasps his place not just in the record industry, but in life.
     
  8. nickGreenwood

    nickGreenwood Second Unit

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    Thanks Ron for posting that, I agree with everything in the review. John has really come into his own, he's come across as kind of cocky in the past and this album really backs up everything he's stated.

    I've been listening to this album almost non-stop, I can't get enough of it, just when I think I've gotten kind of bored with it, a song will come on and I'll pick up something I didn't hear before. The song "Stop This Train" is sort of like "Daughters" all over again, but from the guys perspective about growing up, I didn't like it at first but tonight it hit me. The same thing happened with "Daughters" I didn't care for the song for the longest time, then one night about a year after the album came out I sat down and listened to it and it hit me and now I really like and see why so many connected with it.

    The song "Belief" reminds me very much of the 1980's Peter Gabriel stuff. Has a message but at the same time, musically it's a great song, and has a lot of the similar Gabriel sounding things on there. Oddly I don't even think "Waiting On The World to Change" is the best song on the album, but that being said, it's still better than just about any song out right now. He's not offending anyone in the song but stating simple truth's.

    I can't get enough of this album.
     
  9. Chet_F

    Chet_F Supporting Actor

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    I heard him about a year ago on some live tracks and was BLOWN away. This KID was playing blues like he had for years and years. He was rough and not really sure of himself as a blues type artist. I can say that he has REALLY gotten better and I'm in for a sale. There are quite a few live concerts on the internet that are amazing.
     
  10. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I'm not saying you have, but I think a lot of people mistake his utmost of confidence for cockiness. In all the times I've seen him (and read his posts online), he always is so gracious towards his fans and has done a number of things to thank them (for example, the very intimate Eddie's Attic shows around Christmastime last year).

    Indeed, "Stop This Train" is a gorgeous song. He debuted this tune during those Eddie's Attic shows and said that it stemmed out of seeing his parents age seemingly every time he sees them. He has gone on to say that it's one of the most important songs he's written and how he's not sure he will be able to perform in on a large scale due to the nature of the song and how he feels about it.

    That's an interesting view point about "Belief." I'm not 100% sure what it sounds like to me. Sometimes, I think that it sounds like the Police! I guess due to Ben Harper's playing on it, it has that BH grittiness to it.

    I'm with you on "Waiting..."...it's a better pop song that 99% of the garbage out on the radio now, but to be honest, I skip it every single time. Good song, but those keyboard "bells" in the background drive me nuts! I much prefer the acoustic version off of the single.
     
  11. nickGreenwood

    nickGreenwood Second Unit

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    Cockiness... Confidence, sometimes one in the same. heh. Cocky was is what came out, confidence is what I meant. All the blogs and stuff that I've read by John (which is quite rare and really quite cool that he himself blogs) he's amazingly well aware of his fans and really seems to do a lot for them.

    I wish the man would come a little closer to New Hampshire than Boston, which all the show's I've wanted to go to are on weeknights and no one in my group of friends like John enough to go see him. Grrr.
     
  12. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I'd be curious to hear if this will come out as an SACD...the previous 2 studio albums have (and Room For Squares was released as a Dual-Disc as well).
     

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