Musician John Mayer opens up about his latest studio album, Continuum
richard drew/associated press
It seems John Mayer is growing out of those light-hearted love songs that made him famous.
Known for sappy pop tunes like Your Body Is A Wonderland and Daughters, the 28-year-old singer/songwriter from Connecticut digs deeper with his third studio album Continuum, in stores this week.
“It feels like a man’s record,” Mayer said during a recent interview at a downtown Toronto hotel. “It’s not a boy’s record.”
A more serious, mature album than his previous studio efforts Room For Squares and Heavier Things, Mayer addresses everything from the political attitudes of his generation to aging to failed relationships on the new disc.
While Mayer says he didn’t set out to make a more serious record, he does acknowledge he wanted to do something different.
“It wasn’t to the point where I said ‘Let’s go deeper,’” he said. “Maybe the context was ‘let’s be more believable. Let’s not attack people’s sensibilities.’ Sometimes when you’re witty and clever and sharp, you really are aggressively trying to barge down somebody’s sensibilities.”
Mayer hasn’t abandoned his soulful pop sound on Continuum, but the mop-haired singer has combined it with his blues influences.
But in recent years, Mayer — who has sold more than eight million records and won three Grammy Awards — has gone in a different direction, collaborating with artists like rapper Kanye West and bluesman B.B. King and releasing a live blues album with his band the John Mayer Trio.
Despite his experimentation with the blues, Mayer insists he’ll never turn his back on pop.
“I’ve got pop in me — always have, always will,” he said. “I love (Eric) Clapton and Buddy Guy and Albert King and Jimi Hendrix, but I’ve got pop in me.”
Mayer actually pays homage to Hendrix on Continuum, covering the his song Bold As Love.
“I shut my eyes and believed I was worth it, which is what the song is about,” he says of his decision to include the track on the album.
Mayer co-produced Continuum with Trio drummer Steve Jordan. While he enjoyed being at the helm, Mayer says walking away at the end of the day was incredibly difficult.
“I cancelled a ton of plans making this record,” he said. “There were times when the songs needed me. I had to stay all night and get it right.”