Continuum Aware/Columbia
Music ••••½ Sound •••••
With last year's power-trio live CD, Try!, John Mayer seemed to be turning away from his teen-female fan base while satisfying some inner need for chops recognition. Now we know why: The singer/songwriter/guitarist's latest disc heralds an entirely new phase, with stunningly mature developments on all three fronts. Between his soulful vocals (the Princely "Vultures"), deft compositions (the sociopolitically aware "Belief"), and superb guitar playing (the jazz-flecked "Gravity," the bluesy "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room"), his only limits from now on should be his imagination. He's that talented.

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