Cohesive Continuum

By Ojas Joshi

In the summer of 2006, John Mayer released his fourth studio album, the infamous Continuum. At this point in his career, Mayer was a rising star, riding the success of his previous albums, and seemingly improving with each musical undertaking. Mayer had already displayed the raw guitar talent, and his natural feel for  producing pop hits. However, he had been unable to piece it all together. Not one of his previous albums had a story to tell; rather they were a bunch of singularly good songs, clumped together onto an album out of circumstance. With Continuum, he put the nail into the coffin. Continuum not only featured the Mayer magic we had become used to by that point (songwriting, composing, soloing), it finally featured something that had been eluding Mayer for his entire career: a cohesive story. I believe that the greatest musical undertakings, the ones that stick around, are the ones that when put together, tell a complete story. Let’s take a deeper dive. Through the first half of the album, Continuum feels like a crying out, a testament to a life that feels uncontrollable. This can be seen through tracks like “Waiting on the World to Change,” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” or “Stop this Train”. All of these songs, respectively, are about things that seem out of our hands; a world full of violence that we cannot change, a love that is dying uncontrollably, and a life that never seems to stop. It almost feels like a teenager wrote these lyrics, complaining about life’s many faults. As the album comes to a close, Mayer provides us with closure. “In Repair” and “I’m going to Find Another You” show Mayer slowing down and addressing his flaws. Continuum’s beautiful composition and purposeful storytelling makes it one of my favorite albums.