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Jason Mraz - Mr A-Z

Jason Mraz, Mr A-Z

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JASON Mraz looks to follow up his acclaimed debut, Waiting For My Rocket To Come with his sophomore effort, Mr A-Z.

Jason is probably best known for the infectious hit Remedy, which still rates among the most requested tracks on Virgin. Yet his style is quite diverse, having been born out of the intimate San Diego-based coffee shop scene that helped him make his name.

Hence, he describes Mr A-Z as ‘365 days of Mraz is just under one hour’.

“The album took exactly a year to make, from the day the first word was scripted in January 2004 to mastering in January 2005, giving the whole affair a true four-season feel,” he continued.

“These 12 songs recognise the events of my last few years, in which I left the coffee houses where I was raised and was thrust into the theatre and arena circuit with the success of Remedy.

“I’m pretty sure this album will please audiences from both my caffeinated roots as well as those from my recently discovered Red Bull-and-beer-chugging jam band scene.”

This last prediction is certainly true. The album really ought to please his many fans as well as reaching out still further. There are several highlights.

Opening track, Life Is Wonderful is a whimsical track that unfolds in epic fashion – beginning softly and then drawing in plenty of instrumentation that helps to concoct an instant classic. You’re sure to be singing along with every ‘la, la, la’ by the second or third listen.

The beautiful uplifting style of this track is quickly offset by the lyrically ambitious Wordplay, which recalls the energy and vocal dexterity of Remedy. It’s instantly catchy and provides a perfect showcase for Jason’s quick delivery, before giving way to another sing-along chorus.

Having got off to such a flyer, however, there are times when the rest of the album suffers by comparison – but at least the styles continue to come at you thick and fast.

Geek In The Pink kicks off with a hip-hop intro and includes plenty of scratching from DJ Bob Necksnapp that sits nicely with the rock-pop elements.

While tracks like the piano-heavy Did You Get My Message? and Mr Curiosity ease into a laidback vibe that’s suggestive of Jason’s coffee shop roots and tip-toe towards melancholy.

The upbeat vibe returns with Clockwatching, however, which is built around some nice guitar work and another strong chorus.

There’s a slightly hispanic flavour surrounding the smooth, jazzy style of Bella Luna, which is certainly one for the Valentine’s crowd, as is Please Don’t Tell Her, a slightly more rocky effort that slow-builds towards its epic finale (despite a whirlwind blast of rock to set things going).

Mraz can soon be seen supporting James Blunt (February 2006) but if he continues to deliver work of this quality, he’ll soon be headlining his own arena venues.

Mr A-Z is an extremely impressive piece of work.

Track listing:

  1. Life Is Wonderful
  2. Wordplay
  3. Geek In The Pink
  4. Did You Get My Message
  5. Mr. Curiosity
  6. Clockwatching
  7. Bella Luna
  8. Plane
  9. O. Lover
  10. Please Don’t Tell Her
  11. Forecast
  12. Song For A Friend