Continuum (John Mayer album)

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Continuum
Studio album by John Mayer
ReleasedSeptember 12, 2006
RecordedNovember 2005–July 2006
The Village Recorder
(Los Angeles, California)
Royal Studios
(Memphis, Tennessee)
Avatar Studios, Right Track/Sound on Sound
(New York City, New York)
GenrePop rock,[1] blues rock, blue-eyed soul,[2] soft rock[3]
Length48:34
LabelColumbia, Aware
ProducerJohn Mayer, Steve Jordan
John Mayer chronology
Heavier Things
(2003)
Continuum
(2006)
Battle Studies
(2009)
Singles from Continuum
  1. "Waiting on the World to Change"
    Released: August 2006
  2. "Belief"
    Released: November 2006
  3. "Gravity"
    Released: January 31, 2007
  4. "Dreaming with a Broken Heart"
    Released: July 4, 2007
  5. "Say"
    Released: November 20, 2007
 
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Continuum
Studio album by John Mayer
ReleasedSeptember 12, 2006
RecordedNovember 2005–July 2006
The Village Recorder
(Los Angeles, California)
Royal Studios
(Memphis, Tennessee)
Avatar Studios, Right Track/Sound on Sound
(New York City, New York)
GenrePop rock,[1] blues rock, blue-eyed soul,[2] soft rock[3]
Length48:34
LabelColumbia, Aware
ProducerJohn Mayer, Steve Jordan
John Mayer chronology
Heavier Things
(2003)
Continuum
(2006)
Battle Studies
(2009)
Singles from Continuum
  1. "Waiting on the World to Change"
    Released: August 2006
  2. "Belief"
    Released: November 2006
  3. "Gravity"
    Released: January 31, 2007
  4. "Dreaming with a Broken Heart"
    Released: July 4, 2007
  5. "Say"
    Released: November 20, 2007

Continuum is the third studio album by American musician John Mayer, released September 12, 2006 on Columbia Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during November 2005 to September 2006 at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, California, Avatar Studios and Right Track/Sound on Sound in New York City, and Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.[4] Production was handled primarily by Mayer and Steve Jordan. It marked a change in Mayer's musical style, and incorporated musical elements of blues and soul more heavily than in his previous work with pop-rock.[3][5][6]

The album debuted at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 300,186 copies in its first week. It also reached the top-ten in several other countries and sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Upon its release, Continuum received generally positive reviews from most music critics and earned Mayer several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 49th Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine named it the eleventh best album of 2006.

Background[edit]

With any trilogy, the third in the series blows it open.

John Mayer, 2006[7]

Mayer made the decision to name his third album Continuum at least a year before the album was released. In his column in the April 2005 issue of Esquire, Mayer wrote, "I'm obsessed with time lately, constantly crunching the numbers to get some sense of where I stand in the continuum."[8] In his column in the September 2005 issue of Esquire he confirmed the title, writing, "I've never experienced anything like the recording process involved in making Continuum, my third-album-to-be.[9]

The album features mainly new songs, though "Gravity" and "Vultures" are available in live versions from John Mayer Trio's Try!, and "Bold as Love", which is a Jimi Hendrix cover: the first Hendrix cover that Mayer has ever recorded as a studio release (although Mayer has recorded other Hendrix songs over time in live settings such as "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Wait Until Tomorrow"). (Mayer had played "Bold as Love" live many times prior to the release of Continuum such as on the televised Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope which aired on January 15, 2005.) The album contains a collaboration between Mayer and 8-string guitarist Charlie Hunter on the tune "In Repair". The song "Stop this Train" was written during a time of, what Mayer calls, "solitary refinement;" He was in bed suffering from double kidney stones, and living in a hotel while finding a new residence.[10]

Cover art[edit]

The word "Continuum" is showcased across the center. The typography for the title was customized to give the letters "C" and "o" the appearance of an infinity symbol: . Many of the following letters touch in some way; the right vertical line of the second "u" is the left vertical line of the "m" in the title.

The album has been released several times with slight differences in the artwork. The three major releases feature, respectively: A photo of Mayer; a silver cover with a white title; and a Local 83-only version (including a silver bag). The first features a dark gray-scale photograph of Mayer with the title near the top; another is identical except for "featured" centered across the top. Some versions feature only a CD. In these cases, the album features Mayer on the cover. When the album is packaged with a jewel casing, the inside cover is all white with the "Continuum" logo printed very faintly on it. The basic CD is white with off-white letters that slides into a slipcase of deep gray with lettering in light gray and blue/green. During the pre-order, it appeared as though there would be a variation of said artwork on a special edition version, and it turned out that the "special packaging" was a shiny silver bag which held the CD and the pre-order bonuses. All artwork was designed by Mayer along with Smog Design, Inc. The inside of the CD sleeve includes photographs, some taken by Mayer, such as of the studio (where Mayer's handwriting describes, "*this is what my heart looks like*") and a Ferris wheel where Mayer's handwriting is imposed over the top of the photograph, featuring the lyrics to his songs. There is also a photograph of Mayer with Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan (the three who comprise the John Mayer Trio) on a beach. The CD sleeve features the lyrics to all of Continuum's songs. With both Heavier Things and Room for Squares, there were incongruities with the lyrics in the sleeves when compared with the albums; however, the Continuum lyrics are all printed exactly as recorded on the album.

The UK version of Continuum features a photograph of Mayer on the cover. This cover was used for promotional releases, such as when Mayer performed live on the Australian television program Rove Live. The alternative cover was presented for television by the show's host Rove McManus.

In November 2007, a special edition of Continuum was released. The cover for the special edition features a grey background and silver text for the title, with the Columbia Records logo in black instead of white. However, the line "Music by John Mayer" remains the same teal color as on the regular release. The cover layout is the same.

Release and promotion[edit]

By the time of release, Mayer had performed almost all of the songs live at least once, either with a full band or alone in an acoustic set during the Hotel Cafe shows from the previous winter. On August 23, 2006, the entire Continuum album was played on Los Angeles radio station STAR 98.7, with the segment hosted by Mayer himself.[11] He repeated the event for different media outlets several more times before the album's September release, such as "Sneak Peek" through Clear Channel Music; he also performed three songs live for Sessions@AOL.[12] Subsequently, the album was made available for streaming on Clear Channel Music website and for pre-purchase on iTunes, all prior to the album's official release. The iTunes pre-release included the exclusive bonus track, "Can't Take That Plane".

A limited edition EP of "Waiting on the World to Change" was released featuring the album version of the song. The EP includes a bonus acoustic version which features Ben Harper, as well as a studio recording of "Good Love is on the Way", a live version of which was released on the John Mayer Trio's Try!. The Ben Harper version of "Waiting on the World to Change" and an alternative acoustic-only version of "Good Love is on the Way" are also available on Mayer's subsequent release, the EP The Village Sessions.

The first single, "Waiting on the World to Change," was released on July 11, 2006. The music video for the song was directed by Philip Andelman and features Mayer walking along the East River while graffiti artists Futura, Tats Cru, and Daze graffiti messages on New York City billboards displaying messages relating to the song's content. On February 22, 2007, Continuum's second single, "Gravity", entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #71, joining the already charting "Waiting on the World to Change", making for two Continuum singles on the Hot 100 at the same time. It was featured in the soundtrack for the television series House in 2008. "Waiting" entered the Billboard's Hot 100 Digital Songs Chart at #63. It has sold 68,115 in digital downloads since its release. Mayer performed the single "Gravity" at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards with fellow musicians Corinne Bailey Rae and John Legend. "Dreaming with a Broken Heart" is the third official single release from Continuum, and was released for ads at Hot AC and Triple A radio on July 9, 2007.

On November 20, 2007, a special edition of Continuum was released that included a bonus disc of six live tracks and a 20-page booklet containing photos from the tour. Five of the songs are live versions of tracks from Continuum, including all of its singles. A sixth song, "I Don't Need No Doctor", was originally performed by Ray Charles; Mayer previously performed the song as part of his set with the John Mayer Trio. The single "Say" (from The Bucket List soundtrack) was also made available on the CD through an online download unlock function.[13] The tracks were produced by Mayer's engineer Chad Franscoviak.

The album was reissued on Columbia Records on April 8, 2008, with the single "Say" being added directly on the disc.[14] A vinyl lp version of this reissue was also released, on two 180-gram discs.

Commercial performance[edit]

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An R&B-oriented ballad, the song's theme centers on a relationship on the brink of ending.

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Continuum debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart at #2 with 300,186 copies sold.[15] It never reached #1, impeded by the Justin Timberlake album FutureSex/LoveSounds, which was released at the same time. To date,[when?] Continuum has sold 2,272,747 copies [16] in the U.S. and is Mayer's third consecutive multi-platinum selling studio album. It stayed in the top 100 of Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 50 weeks (37 of those weeks were in the top 50).

Worldwide, it has moved more than 3 million copies.[citation needed] In Canada, the album debuted at #2 on the official Albums Chart and is certified platinum for sales of 100,000 copies. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Continuum was the fourth best selling digital album for 2006 in Canada. With no lead single in Australia, Continuum debuted on the ARIA Albums Chart at #12,[17] his lowest debut in Australia to date (Room for Squares debuted at #5 and Heavier Things at #4). Continuum was the ninety-eighth best selling album for 2006 on the ARIA (ARIA) Albums Chart. It has been certified gold by ARIA for sales of 35,000 copies and had stayed on ARIA's Top 100 Albums chart for 34 weeks before exiting the chart. Continuum held the record for the most album downloads in history with over 326,000 copies downloaded until June 29, 2008, when it was surpassed by the Coldplay album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.

On February 22, 2007, the lead single, "Waiting on the World to Change", peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, where it stayed for forty-one weeks.[18] To date in the U.S., the single has sold 1,632,137 in digital downloads, and was certified platinum by the RIAA when it crossed the one-million mark in sales. After a month of release, the single peaked at #17 on the Australian ARIA Top 40 Digital Track Chart on November 19, 2006.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Blender3.5/5 stars[19]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[3]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[20]
Mojo4/5 stars[2]
PopMatters7/10[1]
Q2/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[22]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[23]
Stylus MagazineC[24]

Continuum received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 67, based on 18 reviews.[25] Matt Collar of Allmusic called it "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."[5] Mojo called it a "great blue-eyed soul record."[2] Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times commented that Mayer is "best when treading softly, finding the fluid heart of blue-eyed soul", rather than on more "angst"-filled songs.[20] Bryan Borzykowski of Now felt that "[Mayer's] melodic voice, warm production, complex riffs and thoughtful lyrics should cure the violent reactions Mayer's name used to evoke."[26] MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave Continuum a three-star honorable mention ((3-star Honorable Mention)),[27] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure".[28] He cited "Waiting on the World to Change" and "The Heart of Life" as highlights and quipped, "Saying in so many words what his less-gifted, more-pretentious contemporaries think it's cool to camouflage".[27] Anthony DeCurtis, writing in Rolling Stone, called it "a smart, breezy album that deftly fuses his love for old-school blues and R&B with his natural gift for sharp melodies and well-constructed songs."[22] The magazine later ranked it the eleventh best album of 2006.[29]

In a mixed review, Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe wrote that, "with no edge to the songwriting and with such spit-polished, tasteful production, Continuum just doesn't convince as a heady, soulful rock album or as Mayer's creative quantum leap forward".[23] Jody Rosen, writing for Entertainment Weekly, felt that Mayer is too "classy" and wrote that, although the songs are "shapely" and "the musicianship is elegant and virtuosic", the music's "low-key loveliness dissipates into a sleep-inducing soft-rock haze."[3] Stylus Magazine stated that Mayer "calmly circles the same career themes with the same warmed-over, palatable guitar weavings".[24] Q magazine called it "dour stuff reminiscent of a yogic Sting."[21]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Waiting on the World to Change"  John Mayer3:21
2."I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)"  Mayer4:52
3."Belief"  Mayer4:02
4."Gravity"  Mayer4:05
5."The Heart of Life"  Mayer3:19
6."Vultures"  Mayer, Steve Jordan, Pino Palladino4:11
7."Stop This Train"  Mayer4:45
8."Slow Dancing in a Burning Room"  Mayer4:02
9."Bold as Love" (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)Jimi Hendrix4:18
10."Dreaming with a Broken Heart"  Mayer4:07
11."In Repair"  Mayer, Steve Jordan, Charlie Hunter6:09
12."I'm Gonna Find Another You"  Mayer2:43
Total length:
48:34

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Lester Snell – keyboards and horn arrangements assistance on track 12
  • Boo Mitchell – horn arrangements on track 12
  • Willie Mitchell – horn arrangements on track 12
  • Carlos Saucedo – guitars on track 12
  • Harley Pasternak – backing vocals on track 1
  • Jeannie Martinez – backing vocals on track 1
  • Kristen Moss – backing vocals on track 1
  • Lee Padgett – backing vocals on track 1
  • Maggie Slavonic – backing vocals on track 1
  • Ricky Cytonbaum – backing vocals on track 1
  • Sandy Vongdasy – backing vocals on track 1
  • Scotty Crowe – backing vocals on track 1

Production[edit]

  • Manny Marroquin – mixing on tracks 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12
  • Michael Brauer – mixing on tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11
  • Jared Robbins – mixing assistance on tracks 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12
  • Will Hensley – mixing assistance on tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11
  • Chad Franscoviak – engineering
  • Joe Ferla – engineering
  • Dave O'Donnell – engineering on tracks 1, 3 and 11
  • John Alagía – engineering on track 7
  • Angie Teo – engineering assistance, Pro Tools engineering
  • Brian Montgomery – engineering assistance, Pro Tools engineering
  • Bryan Pugh – engineering assistance, Pro Tools engineering
  • Dan Monti – engineering assistance
  • Jared Nugent – engineering assistance
  • Jim Monti – engineering assistance
  • Peter Doris – engineering assistance, Pro Tools engineering
  • Vanessa Parr – engineering assistance
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Martin Pradler – digital editing, Pro Tools engineering
  • Nathaniel Kunkel – Pro Tools engineering

Chart history[edit]

Chart (2006)ProvidersPeak
position
CertificationSales
Billboard 200 Albums Chart (U.S.)Billboard2[15]2x Platinum2,272,747
Billboard Comprehensive Albums (U.S.)Billboard2[30]
Billboard Digital Albums (U.S.)Billboard1[31]326,000
Billboard Internet Albums (U.S.)Billboard3[32]326,000
Billboard Top Rock Albums (U.S.)Billboard1[33]
Australian Albums ChartARIA12Gold35,000+
Canadian Albums ChartNielsen SoundScan2[34]Platinum100,000+
UK Albums ChartBBC47[35]20,000+
New Zealand Albums ChartRIANZ9Gold7,500+
Denmark Top 40 Albums ChartIFPI Danmark & ACNielsen24
Netherlands Top 100 Albums ChartGfK Mega Charts12

Accolades[edit]

On December 7, 2006, Continuum was nominated for three Grammys. Including these, Mayer earned five nominations, in total – one nomination for Best Rock Album for Try! with the John Mayer Trio and another for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for "Route 66" from the Cars motion picture soundtrack. The album's lead single, "Waiting on the World to Change", was nominated and won in the category for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Continuum won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.

YearAwardCategory
2007Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards
  • Record Production/Album - WON
49th annual Grammy Awards
  • Album of the Year - nominated
  • Best Pop Vocal Album - WON
  • Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Waiting on the World to Change" - WON

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Joseph, Mike (2006-09-21). "John Mayer: Continuuum". PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  2. ^ a b c "Review: Continuum". Mojo (London): 108. December 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rosen, Jody (2006-09-15). "Continuum Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  4. ^ John Mayer and Steve Jordan discuss the writing and recording process. MixOnline. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  5. ^ a b c Collar, Matt. "Continuum - John Mayer". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  6. ^ Anderman, Joan. John Mayer Takes on Serious Soul Music. The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  7. ^ "John Mayer Biography". John Mayer Official Website. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-07-30. 
  8. ^ No byline (2005). "Mayer hints at the album title" Esquire.com (prior to the title's announcement) (accessed March 16, 2007)
  9. ^ Mayer writes in his Esquire Column that he intends to name his third album Continuum.
  10. ^ Mahoney, Lesley (October 24, 2008) "John Mayer: Converting Information to Inspiration", Berkley.edu (Retrieved 2008-11-02)
  11. ^ Mayer, John (2006-08-04). "Continuum First Listen". John Mayer Official Blog. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  12. ^ "John Mayer World Premiere of Continuum". Star 98.7 FM. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  13. ^ JohnMayer.org staff (November 14, 2007). ("CONTINUUM (SPECIAL EDITION) TO BE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 20; INCLUDES 6 LIVE TRACKS AND NEW SINGLE, "SAY"" JohnMayer.com Retrieved 2007-11-19
  14. ^ John Mayer Continuum Reissue, news.jamradio.org, March 26, 2008, Retrieved March 27, 2008
  15. ^ a b "The Billboard 200". Billboard Magazine. 
  16. ^ http://www.soundscan.com
  17. ^ "ARIA Album Charts". Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  18. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard Magazine. 
  19. ^ Moon, Tom (October 2006). "John Mayer: Continuum". Blender (New York): 138. 
  20. ^ a b Powers, Ann (2006-09-03). "Angst yields to maturity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  21. ^ a b "Review: Continuum". Q (London): 138. December 2006. 
  22. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony (2006-09-11). "Continuum". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2011-08-20.
  23. ^ a b Keefe, Jonathan (2006-09-25). "John Mayer: Continuum". Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-03-27.
  24. ^ a b McGarvey, Evan (2006-09-25). "John Mayer - Continuum - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  25. ^ "Critic Reviews for Continuum". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  26. ^ Borzykowski, Bryan (September 14–20, 2006). "Reviews" NOW 26:2
  27. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: John Mayer". MSN Music: February 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-12-29.
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert. CG Keys to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  29. ^ No byline (2007). "The Top 50 Albums of 2006" Rolling Stone (accessed March 16, 2007)
  30. ^ Billboard.com Top Comprehensive Albums 2006-09-21
  31. ^ Billboard.com Top Digital Albums 2006-09-21
  32. ^ Billboard.com Top Internet Albums 2006-09-21
  33. ^ Billboard.com Top R&B/Hip-HopAlbums 2006-09-21
  34. ^ "Gold & Platinum". Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). April 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  35. ^ Yahoo Charts

External links[edit]