One of my favorite musical artists throughout my teenage years was Jason Mraz. Pre-We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things, specifically.I admit the first time I tried listening to his albums after falling in love with “The Remedy,” I found it boring and difficult to like. However, his music requires an acquired taste. On a second listen, I got comfortable with his style and fell in love with tracks such as “You & I Both” and “Life is Wonderful” which allowed me to enjoy his other tracks and appreciate his style and music. I can’t just choose one album of his or target one specifically as a great album because most of them were good. Some were recorded concerts which combined songs from different albums and improvisation. I can say that a majority of the songs on each album appealed to me which is my definition of a great album.
Here’s an example of a live song and how he improvises at the end. The sound quality is superb.
I enjoyed all those albums before Jason Mraz became more mainstream. As stated by Jason Mraz, he grew as a person which affects the music he creates. That isn’t bad because we all need to grow as individuals but the problem is his change in musical style and even lyrics.
Pre-WSWDWST Jason Mraz music was undefined. It was difficult to pinpoint what genre he fell in. Now, Jason Mraz aims for a hippy genre similar to “I’m Yours,” and even branches out to a country feel in his album Love is a Four Letter Word. His current music sounds canned and tries to fit into predefined genres. I argue that great art of any kind attempts to break genres and categories. They combine genres and use whichever style best meet their expressive needs.
His lyrics previously were raw, complex and had implied meanings rather than telling the listener directly what he feels or experiences. For example, in “Please Don’t Tell Her,” Jason Mraz never once flat out state that he misses his ex-girlfriend but implies it.
Please don’t tell her that I’ve been meaning to miss her
Because I don’t
Although he does say the words in those lines, he’s trying to deny the fact that he in fact misses her. Here’s more:
Please don’t tell her that
‘Cause she don’t really need to know
That I’m crazy like the rest of us
And I’m crazier when I’m next to her
So why after the all of everything that came and went
I care enough to still be singing of the bitter end and broken eras
I told you I don’t but
I am only trying to be the best with my intent to cure
The rest is sure to lay me ease the plural hurts of the words of reverse psychology
That’s easier said
Easier than done
Please don’t dare tell her what I’ve become
Please don’t mention all the attention I have drawn
Please don’t bother cause she’ll feel guilty when I’m gone
Because I’m crazy like the rest of us
But I’m crazier when I’m next to her
And it’s amazing how she’s so self-assured
But I know she’d hate me if she knew my words
Do I hurt anymore
Do I hurt, well
Here, he is showing us that he misses her without telling us. Good art shows and doesn’t tell. He’s showing what state he is in after their breakup. Basically, he’s a mess.
To contrast with that, here is what his current lyrics are like:
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Here, he is almost preaching his intents rather than showing his intents. The lyrical style has changed drastically.
I understand that the change in his music is because he wants to share positive music, but he doesn’t have to change his songwriting style. His music before were quite negative, or comes from a lacking perspective. Yet, emotions and experiences were expressed true. They had more emotional depth. This doesn’t mean I didn’t like We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. because there were actually some great tracks (ie: “A Beautiful Mess” and “Details in the Fabric”) and some with good lyrics like “Dynamo of Volition.” However, even in “Dynamo of Volition,” he is stating rather than showing.
With that said, I want the old Jason Mraz back! What do you think? Do you agree that his music has changed and which style do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!