Follow Us on Twitter

Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things

Jason Mraz, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FOR his third album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz has delivered a breezy collection of pop songs that take their cues from the ’70s, as well as that feelgood vibe attached to contemporary artists such as Jack Johnson.

The result is an engaging, easygoing listen that never quite gets out of first gear. The songs wash over you, often like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day, but unlike previous Mraz LPs there’s a sense that he’s a little too chilled musically and there’s not enough diversity.

That said, some of the songwriting displays real honesty, while two collaborations – with James Morrison and Colbie Caillat – emerge as two of the highlights.

The template is established from opening track Make It Mine, an incredibly laidback start that’s propelled by a horn section and a snappy beat. It’s unashamedly ‘7os in its use of organs, while Mraz’s vocals assume a smooth vibe akin to Smokey Robinson. The inclusion of some hand-clap propelled “la la la“s and a trombone solo adds a couple of nice touches and ensures the album gets off on the right foot.

It’s followed by the reggae-infused I’m Yours, a YouTube sensation in its own right, which really ought to become one of the summer’s great love anthems – a song so sweet, happy and romantic that it rivals Jack Johnson’s Better Together for its ability to appeal to the hopeless romantics. You can imagine plenty of newlyweds dancing along to it.

Lucky continues the acoustic vibe and benefits from a lovely boy-girl vocal trade-off between Mraz and Caillat. It’s unashamedly optimistic, boasting lines such as “lucky I’m in love with my best friend, lucky to have been where I’ve been, lucky to be coming home again”.

Mraz’s cheeky side is exemplified in the sexy Butterfly, an ode to a woman’s “secret smile”, that boasts such suggestive lyrics as “let me feel feel you upside down, slide in, slide out…” and “I want to flower you”. It’s snappy and once again propelled by a horn section that adds extra charm.

In stark contrast, however, comes Love For A Child, a tender, heartfelt lament from a child who wishes his parents had been better. It’s a sobering reminder of Mraz’s diverse ability to mix fun and melodrama, frivolty with seriousness. And it’s a real grower.

Details In The Fabric, meanwhile, is a pick-me-up for anyone who’s feeling down, a beautifully constructed slow-burner that’s all about reassurance and friendship. It’s built around some tender acoustic guitar licks and a nice vocal collaboration from James Morrison.

Thereafter, the album continues to deliver its mix of laidback pop without ever delivering anything as immediate and funky as Remedy, from previous album Mr A-Z. Like I said, it’s an amiable listen and it does boast some really strong moments. But the overall impression tends to be one of indifference. Maybe I’d been expecting too much.

Editor’s note: This album has now been re-released in January 2009.

Read our interview with Jason Mraz

Download picks: I’m Yours, Lucky, Butterfly, Love For A Child, Details In The Fabric

Track listing:

  1. Make It Mine
  2. I’m Yours
  3. Lucky – Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
  4. Butterfly
  5. Live High
  6. Love For A Child
  7. Details In The Fabric – Jason Mraz & James Morrison
  8. Coyotes
  9. Only Human
  10. Dynamo Of Volition
  11. If It Kills Me
  12. Beautiful Mess

  1. Errr, I think you’ll find “The Remedy” came from Waiting For My Rocket To Come, not Mr. A-Z. And the lyrics to Butterfly say “I want to fly with you”, not “flower you”. Other than that, nice review, I guess….

    commentator    Jun 11    #