John Mayer began (and basically remains) a pop-rock musician and vocalist, as evidenced by his first two albums Room for Squares and Heavier Things. It was alright stuff, commercially successful, but not all that groundbreaking in terms of Mayer’s career.
Then in 2006, Continuum happened. Mayer really flexed his musical muscle and with his longtime collaborator Steve Jordan created what I believe to be one of the top albums of the decade. Unlike his work before or since (Mayer’s latest album, Battle Studies, is more p0p-rock-based), Continuum is a lot more bluesy, features more of Mayer on guitar, and simply has more soul. This is probably best evidenced in my favorite Mayer songs, “Gravity” (which Mayer originally did with Jordan and Pino Palladino as part of the John Mayer Trio) and “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” :
Some of Continuum even has the sense of big-band, like the final song, “I’m Gonna Find Another You”:
Continuum is also a lot more stripped-down on many of its tracks, like “The Heart of Life” and “Stop This Train”…
…but Mayer plays to his pop hand with tunes like “In Repair”:
All in all, Mayer produced a Grammy-winner, a commercial success, and simply a damn good album, all in one.