Album: Jason Mraz: Mr. A to Z|
Street Date: July 26, 2005
Reviewed by: Brian
Jason Mraz burst onto the pop music scene in 2002 with his cross-genre hit "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)". After touring extensively and building a very solid fanbase, Mraz is back in 2005 with his sophomore effort, Mr. A to Z.
In Wordplay, the lead single from Mr. A to Z, Mraz acknowledges the difficult task of putting together a second album (the sophomore slum is an uphill battle), but he shakes that thought off with ease in the song which is a single about writing singles. We will see if Mraz's confidence in his ability to make wordplay a reality translates into a spectactular sophomore album.
1. Life is Wonderful - Mr. A to Z starts with a Mraz vocal over some light acoustic guitar. At 1:00 the intruments kick in louder, and by 1:33 we have a full song. The lyrics are interesting, typical Mraz though, talking about everything and nothing at all in his general sing-song tone. The instrumentals progress nicely throughout the song, giving it a light and happy feel. Overall, the song works well with the theme that life is wonderful.
2. Wordplay - The single about writing a single. An upbeat and fun song instrumentally. Mraz shows off some silliness in the song talking about everything from the sophomore slum to long division, but overall Mraz's lyrics are very solid and delivered nicely.
3. Geek in the Pink - This song has a hip-hopish beat to it, the song itself even starts off with someone cutting wax. Mraz even spits in a typical hip hop fashion (I may be skinny at times, but I'm phat fulla rhymes), which is actually rather impressive. This song shows off Mraz's silliness again, but it also shows his creativity and ability to transition out of his main genre and not make a complete fool of himself.
4. Did You Get My Message? - A funky jazz piano opens this track. This is a mid-tempo song instrumentally. Mraz has some guest vocalists join him on this tune. A fun, hearty song that will get your foot tapping and head bobbing.
5. Mr. Curiousity - Suprisingly dropping down into a piano/vocal, Mraz doesn't miss a beat. His vocals aren't that great on this song, but it is again good to see Mraz dive into a genre that isn't his own. An acoustic guitar joins the piano later in the song and compliments the lyrical content nicely. The musical bridge around 2:20 is done very nicely and is capped with some opera-like singing (not by Mraz, though).
6. Clockwatching - Trending back up, the instrumentals of this song are a slower-mid tempo which is drum/guitar driven. Overall the song is a light pop song which might fit in well on Hot AC radio. The lyrical and vocal content are above average, but nothing mindblowing.
7. Bella Luna - Instrumentally Bella Luna has an eclectic feel to it. It is like a mix between island music and light pop latin music. However you want to describe it, the tune is very plesant to the ear. Vocally the song is light and wispy, but it works well with the instrumentals. Lyrically the song is ok.
8. Plane - Plane is the CD's second piano-vocal track. Mraz pulls it off nicely, with thoughtful lyrics and consistent vocals. A full-band instrumental kicks in at 2:20, which is a great touch to the song. One of the more emotional songs on the CD, but it works very well. Again, it is nice to see Mraz flash some musical variety. Definitely one of the best songs on the CD.
9. O Lover - O Lover is actually a guitar/hand drum driven mid-tempo track, with regular instruments that kick in later during the first chorus. The song speeds up progressively as do Mraz's lyrics, culminating with some fast-paced lyrics which seem to have been synthed at the end. The song itself seems kind of experimental, but it goes over well.
10. Please Don't Tell Her - Now we go back to what we're more accustomed to hearing from Mraz, a guitar driven semi-ballad. Lyrically the song is witty (Please don't tell her I've been meaning to miss her, because I don't). Mraz goes back to his sing-song tone for Please Don't Tell Her as well. A very enjoyable song.
11. The Forecast - Instrumentally this song almost drops down into an Adult Contemporary category. Vocally and lyrically, the song is okay, but doesn't really do or mean much in comparison to the rest of the album.
12. Song For A Friend - A slow acoustic guitar beat closes the CD instrumentally. It is something nice to sway to. A solid song vocally, with meaningful lyrics.
While nothing on the album completely blew me away, the album production was excellent and each song proved worthy of being on the album. I was very impressed to see Mraz step outside of the folk-pop genre which is his niche and perform different types of songs, and do them well. The variety shows his growth as a singer-songwriter and bodes well for his future success.
For fans of Jason Mraz, Mr. A to Z will be a welcome addition to any CD changer or iPod playlist. For casual pop music fans, with the diversity shown on Mr. A to Z there is certain to be at least one track that will satiate your passion for good music.
If you'd like to know more about Jason Mraz or Mr. A to Z, you can visit www.jasonmraz.com.
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