In July, VMP Essentials members will receive an exclusive edition of the Grammy-winning, 4x platinum Continuum from John Mayer. Appearing on exclusive 2LP turquoise vinyl with alternate album art, the lacquers for the album were cut by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and plated at Quality Record Pressing in Salinas, Kansas. You can read an essay about the album here, and, below, you can read why we picked this as our Essentials Record of the Month.
VMP: This is, for the lack of a better word, the “poppiest” Essentials Record of the Month in a minute. Why did we pick this one?
Andrew Winistorfer, Editorial Director + Classics A&R: Yeah, I think John Mayer called it a pop album with guitars, or something like that. It is arguably the poppiest album we’ve done, but, obviously, that’s not a bad thing: Pop just means a lot of people liked it. And that was the thing that drew us to this record: so many people on our staff had meaningful relationships with this record when it came out. There are staffers who I think will immediately consider this one of their favorite ROTMs we’ve ever done.
And I think for the rest of us, who maybe weren’t immediately thinking of this record as an Essentials record, when we listened to it, it was like, “Oh, damn, this is really good!” You forget — among everything else that was happening with him at the time, and since, all the tabloid stuff — how good this record is. It’s got so many hot singles on this, and Mayer’s guitar playing and tone were at the top of their prowess. I mean, this dude had the guts to cover Hendrix on this, and you know what? It actually works. Also shouts to “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” that song is an all-timer.
Then you read about all the things that went into this record, and it’s such an interesting story. This pop heartthrob decides he wants to be known for his guitar skills, so he basically makes a softer Stevie Ray Vaughan record… and then it topped the pop charts. That never happened with any other rock band in the ’00s. But the stylistic left turn he made on this record, and working with Soulquarians like Pino Palladino, led to him being on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and on the Chappelle’s Show, and all the seemingly left-field things Mayer got into after this album. Without this record, he’s touring “Daughters” forever, you know? He made his serious album, and it was everything he hoped it’d be, and made him the go-to guitar guy for a wide swath of people. There are people out there who John Mayer is basically the only guitar player they care about.
Ultimately, this record is an important record for so many people, and that’s what made it Essential. You can go on Twitter right now and search “John Mayer Continuum” and see so many Tweets of people still talking about this album, now.
This one comes with this sort of hidden art work, an alternate cover. When you look at it directly, it looks like a white cover, but if you tip it, then the outline of the cover with John Mayer on it is visible, which is a cool effect. This sounds better than ever, since it has new lacquers and was plated at QRP, and it’s on this turquoise vinyl.