John Mayer – Continuum (2006)


Maria Piccirillo

Continuum was released in 2006, by John Mayer. In this album, Mayer focuses on portraying himself as a soulful/blues-like artist, rather than his previously successful image in pop rock. Throughout the album, he sings about everyday life. He frequently references the political state at the time, and his relationships with other people. It is evident that Mayer wants his thoughts and opinions to be heard throughout his music. It seems as if Mayer is calling for a more peaceful, happier, world. The opener for the album, Waiting on the World to Change, is Mayer’s way of expressing his frustration with the political climate of the time. In the fourth stanza of his lyrics, he states, “And when you trust your television/What you get is what you got/Cause when they own the information/oh, They can bend it all they want.” Here, Mayer saying that everyone listens to the awful news without knowing the truth of the scenario. Here, he is giving an early definition to today’s “fake news” media crisis. As well, he expresses his disappointment in society for accepting the world for the way it is, and no one trying to make it better. He is, therefore, “waiting for the world to change.” Belief continues Mayer’s conversation on Politics. He states, in reference to the term “belief”, “It’s the chemical weapon/ For the war that’s raging on inside.” I believe phrase to be talking about the war in Iraq and a post 9/11 world. In Gravity, Mayer calls for people to stay true to themselves as he sings about his fame ruining him. He says, “It’s wanting more that’s gonna send me to my knees.”Gravity showcases Mayer’s soulfulness as he seems to cry out “Just keep me where the light is.” In Addition, Stop this train is about wanting for life to remain the way it is and being afraid of growing older. He claims, “I can’t take the speed it’s moving in.”

My favorite song in the album is Slow Dancing In a Burning Room. This song is about the heartbreak, pain, and the sadness of love. The meaning behind this song is very obvious, as even the guitar rift in the opening couple of chords is very somber. The “burning room” is a metaphor for a couple who mutually sense an end to their relationship coming, but are both not ready to move on yet. They are stuck, or “slow dancing.” It is evident that this relationship has been long standing and the couple doesn’t know how to exist without each other.  This is evident in the line, “You hit me just to hurt me, so you leave me feeling dirty because you can’t understand we’re going down.” The breakup sung about seems to be messy, however, it is sung about with so much emotion that it is clear to the listener that the couple will always hold a place for each other in both of their hearts. The song is a reflection of their relationship including both the bad moments and the good ones. Mayer sings that “You’re the only light I ever saw.”  Slow Dancing In a Burning Room takes us through the journey of love and heartbreak, and shows us that even the most unbreakable bonds sometimes must be broken.

Continuum represents an emotional career-redefining album for Mayer. Though it was originally released 13 years ago, it remains one of my all-time favorite albums because Mayer is very real with his audience. He puts everything out in front for us. This album displays his ambition, hopes, emotions, and diversity of sound. The 12 songs in this album each seem to be a chapter in a larger story that Mayer is telling us.