on October 24, 2008
Me (48) and my husband (69) were pulling into our driveway when the song "I'm Yours" came on the radio. We stayed in the car, listened to the song and felt happy. I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and this song let me forget for a few minutes. We knew we had to have the whole album and have loved every song on it! I think I want "I'm Yours" playing as they wheel me into surgery. It puts me in a happy place! Thank You Jason for such a wonderful, eclectic album and introducing us to some new music (we've been stuck in a 1970's and earlier time frame)!
Best to you,
on May 13, 2008
From the first track to last Jason Mraz dazzles, perplexes and scintillates on his high-octane 3rd full-length studio album "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things." His witty, highly individual lyrical style and organic, powerful backing band transform these songs into four minute detours into the mind of the most underrated singer/songwriter of the 2000s.
Lead single "I'm Yours" finally lands on its feet after many years in Mraz's setlists with its mellow, Hawaiian grooves, complete with visions of obligatory surfers and pineapple drinks in the background. It's just a slice of what "We Sing..." has to offer, however. "Lucky" is a sparse, melodic duet with Colbie Callait that transitions aptly out of "I'm Yours," while "Make It Mine" and "Live High" are classic Mraz with feel-good, enrapturing melodies designed to sweep listeners clean off their feet. "Make It Mine" is particularly upbeat, full of hand-claps and lush, horn-laden instrumentation. It should be a single, and if it becomes one it should give Mraz his first major hit since 2003's "The Remedy" if radio programmers have even a neuron left in their heads.
The subject matter is diverse on "We Sing..." but Mraz never suffers from mood swings. "Love For a Child," by far one of the most touching compositions of his career, touches on the effect of divorce on a young child ("When the house was left in shambles/Well, who was there to handle all the broken bits of glass?") while "Only Human" promotes environmental awareness without playing the blame game. "Details In the Fabric" featuring James Morrison is a moody, meditative look at life, love and relationships, while "Coyotes" takes Mraz's sonic pallete in new directions with layered vocals, percolating snyths and an awesome background chorus. His operatic vocals from "Mr. Curiosity" from his last LP make an appearance here.
Other tracks continue the unparalleled quality. "Butterfly" is an awesomely-produced ode to sexual chemistry ("You make my slacks a little tight/You may unfasten them if you like/That's if you crash and spend the night") with effervescent instrumentation and a mercurial, vigorous melody. "If It Kills Me" finds Mraz pining through cheeky, self-deprecating lyrics about the lady who's got everything except the insight to see he's her best match ("We get along much better than you and your boyfriend") while "A Beautiful Mess" bookends the sentiments of "Details In the Fabric" with a more optimistic outlook.
The album's arguable highlight, however, is the curiously-titled "The Dynamo of Volition." Replete from wall-to-wall with Mraz's entrancing singing/rapping style, the song is like "O. Lover" or "Forecast" from 2005's "Mr. A-Z" is that it perfectly captures Mraz's unrivaled melodic weightiness. The lyrics spew left and right in haphazard fashion, but whether or not they are all understood makes no difference. "...Volition" is an exemplary Mraz tune, with a melody powerful enough to hang over the listener, the kind of melody that paints a picture like a scene from an indie movie, that haunts in such a way that it is instantly classic and unforgettable. It says more than any words ever could.
Mraz has that rare kind of talent that puts him in the category of legendary musicians, those musicians with such blazing, inherent talent that it is simply cannot be learned or created. Elton John, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder come to mind as those types of dynamic musicians that were born with such astounding abilities, and Mraz has what it takes to join their ranks if only more listeners would wizen up and find out what some of us have been lucky to know for over five years.
on November 23, 2008
Continuing the highly criticized practice of re-releasing hit albums to increase sales, Atlantic Records gives the royal treatment this week to Jason Mraz's runaway LP "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.," which remains high on the charts after six months, with a limited edition deluxe version.
The re-release is backed with a second disc collecting the cheekily-titled "We Sing.," "We Dance." and "We Steal Things.," three acoustic EPs he released leading up to the launch of the album containing stripped down versions of many of the tracks. The biggest asset, however, is a DVD of his performance to a sell-out crowd at Manhattan's Highline Ballroom on April 14. Many consider the rehashing of previously released material paired with new, exclusive content pure record company manipulation, and that is a valid point, but the addition of the concert alone will make this 2CD/DVD rechristening interesting for both curious casual listeners as well as the previously initiated.
And there are certainly a slew of those curiously casual with the longevity of the album's lead single "I'm Yours" serving as a barometer of public interest. The song has had an uncanny journey that began circa early 2005, when Mraz began playing the song during live set lists in spite of Atlantic's final word on not including on it on his sophomore set "Mr. A-Z." It garnered a life of its own, becoming known to scores of listeners in countries across the world on account of live recordings as well as the original demo, which found limited release on Mraz's "Extra Credit" EP.
Due to this cult popularity Mraz and Atlantic made the decision to re-record the track to be the lead single from "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.," releasing it to radio and retail in time for Valentine's Day. Slowly but surely increasing in further popularity, it finally reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in September, where it remains this week. That is quite a ride for one song to take.
Still, there is more meat to Mraz than "I'm Yours," and that is ably proven by the entirety of "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." Second single "Make It Mine," with its engulfing sing-a-long chorus, effervescent vocal performance and infectious feel good vibe is even better song than "I'm Yours," while Mraz also cuts straight to the heart of problems both at home ("Love For a Child") and abroad ("Only Human"). He also utilizes an entrancing singing/rapping style on the haunting "Dynamo of Volition." The breezy "Lucky" features Colbie Callait, while James Morrison stops in to add verses on the brooding "Details in the Fabric."
Mraz's talents only come across more strongly with the inclusion of the lo-fi acoustic disc, which brings out the essence of his songs to let them breathe, and the energetic Highline Ballroom concert proves his growing reputation as a live act to be justified. He is smart to recruit supremely talented musicians in the studio, but he outdoes his contemporaries by bringing them on the road with him as well.
Indeed, "Make It Mine" and "No Stopping Us," a slice of ear candy from his debut album, sizzle with high-octane energy courtesy of Mraz's scintillating trumpeters. Non-album track "1000 Things" invokes a lush, lullaby-like dream state, and "Fall Through Glass," a duet with Mraz's friend Bushwalla, teems with swing and intrigue. Along with Mraz's clowning stage presence and impressive vocal range, these moments creates a thoroughly unique musical experience.
To be sure, re-releases from major labels are always highly polished cash grabs, and this one is no different. However, the quality and quantity of the added material gives this one particular panache. Those who have been eyeing the album have all the more incentive now to check it out.
on November 30, 2008
Okay if you don't already have the original album, BUY this version, the album it's self is already so good. But you also get the awesome second cd....which is utterly fantastic...even better than the actual album...PLUS you get an entire Mraz Concert which shows you how talented and funny he actually is. This is a perfect set 2CDs and a DVD with a 90 min concert WOW. Also be sure to watch the 30 Min. Documentry included on the disc it was completely interesting and made me a laugh quite a few times. Thank you Mr. Mraz.
on June 13, 2008
I have loved Jason Mraz since he began and he has never failed to please. This album is similar to Waiting for My Rocket To Come (in my view) and not quite as peppy as Mr. A-Z. I love his fast, wordy, intelligent songs. (I still have Geek in the Pink as my ringer on my phone). This album seemed a bit slower paced, but I love his voice and his jazzy twang. I never liked scat until I heard Jason do it.
He has a skill with words beyond any artist I have ever heard. Read his journal on his website and you will be amazed. I think he is one of those unassuming but highly intelligent people.
We Sing is an album I could put on while reading or entertaining guests. Not too overpowering, but not total background music either. I need to listen to it a few more times to really get the "feel" for it, but I had to do that with WFMRTC as well, and now I love every track except the last two.
I saw Jason perform at the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon in Tempe, AZ just before he put out Mr A-Z and he performed a few of his new ones (though we didn't know that's what they were yet!) and he was absolutely the most entertaining concert I have ever been to. Anyone who has a chance to go see him live should! He broke into opera at our concert, like he does in one of his tracks on Mr A-Z (Mr. Curiosity, I believe - just in case you didn't think that was him -it is! I saw him do it with my own two eyes!)
I always wait in anticipation for anything new from Jason, and this album did not fail to please. Also, anyone who can get his Live from the Eagles Ballroom DVD and CD set should- it is wonderful. He does a great song called "Not So Usual" which has become my personal theme song.
Everyone, buy this album and support this unique and engaging artist!
on May 20, 2008
Jason returns with a new voice after a soul enlightening tour including Hawaii and Australia where he dove into spiritual readings and the Hawaiian lifestyle. The lyrics of this new CD largely reflect those experiences in this introspective and personal album. Of the title, Jason says it best on his website: "What I love about mankind is that yes, we sing and we celebrate when we dance and we're foolish and we steal things. It's hard to have a new idea in music, in fashion, the land we walk on. It's all recycled. I think to say we stole it is a lot more fun."
Starting out the CD is "Make it Mine" with a retro 70's sound, lots of horn and lyrics that reflect his new perspective on life. In the same vein lyrically, he bolts out "Dynamo of Volition" with a lot of energy in classic Mraz style that early Mraz fans will definitely enjoy. In "Only Human" he is accompanied by his new funk retro sound as he reveals our human vulnerabilities.
"Lucky", with the talented Colbie Caillat making for a very nice match, has a subtle jazzy sound, and a beautiful blend of their voices. If you haven't checked out Colbie yet, you should. Ideal love transforms into something more carnal in the horn-fluttering retro funk song "Butterfly". The Jason sound we've come to know on previous CDs, this song delivers plays on words and tongue-twisting double-entendres that only Jason can turn.
He confesses tenderly his own past in "Love for a Child", a song about growing up too fast. "Details in the Fabric" is an emotionally gripping call to hang in there through the tough times. The lyrics of "Coyotes" belie the story of predatory search for love in NYC. Given the subject, it makes me scratch my head that he has a childrens chorus singing backup but is rescued by its very dynamic sound with his rapping style, operatic touches and at times Sting-like sound.
The four songs which I consider to be the crème de la crème of the CD are also on the EP "We Sing" as versions from different sessions. Those include the upbeat reggae sound of "I'm Yours", a tune already an online hit; his anthem "Live High"; the light-hearted pop ballad, "If it Kills Me" in which is he almost sounds a bit like Paul McCartney; and the melodic and nostalgic story of "A Beautiful Mess".
He is back rapping for "Mudhouse/Gypsy MC" live on the EP CD "We Steal Things", along with alternate cuts for "Love for a Child", "Coyotes", and "Man Gave Names to All the Animals".
The third EP CD "We Steal Things" contains excellent alternate cuts for "Make It Mine", "Butterfly", "Only Human", and "Dynamo of Volition".
More like Mr. A-Z than his first CD, "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things" largely has a melancholy introspective vibe. I think this CD will actually appeal to an older audience with its mostly mellow retro funk sound and revealing personal lyrics. Kenny Loggins fans will find some common ground there. Mraz is definitely stepping away from his safe pop platform and stepping out in a new direction musically. Here's to clear waters! Regardless of the stylistic changes he incorporates in the new CD, I think all fans will be happy with the "We Sing" EP CD and highly recommend it by itself with 5 stars. We all need a little Mraz in our ear.
on May 13, 2008
I saw Jason a year and a half ago at Kutztown, and let me just say if you haven't seen him live, try to get to the smallest venue you can find and search this guy out. Homeboy can sing opera like no other. I dig his style and to be honest he is the best singer out there right now, plus he's got groove, and smoothness, and the gift of improv., which is what sets him apart live. Truly amazing live!!!!!! Must seeeeee!!!!!!!!. So anyway, onto his best album he has ever created (no pun meant on any of his old stuff, but he has really come through on this effort). His best song is "Details in the Fabric" just a real nasty track. For some funk I liked "Butterfly". Two love songs right in a row, for you romance killers out there in "I'm yours" and "Lucky" (These songs rule). You can really tell he took some time making this album, which is what all artists should do. Take their time and release good quality music. If he comes back to anywhere around me I am still waiting because the last time I saw him it was the best concert of my life (UP there with the first time I saw radiohead).
on May 9, 2009
I bought this CD for the song "I'm Yours", I loved the relaxing melody and reggae-ish quality. I actually like all the music on the CD - it's all great, unless you really listen to the words of a few songs. 70% of the songs are really cool, lyrics and music combined, but then you're listening to others wondering, Why did he do this? Mraz feels obligated to make weird pervy comments in some of his lyrics he thinks are poetic. But instead they're eww factor. It's like some nerd sat down and wrote cool music, but then fell victim to his lifelong desire to describe his drooling insatiable geeky lust for hot women. Some lyrics describe a woman's "butterfly" to the point of you're just like ok I get it! Other lyrics compliment a dancing girl in nothing but stilettos for making his "pants tight." Blech. It's only a handful of songs on the CD that are like this, but they're so weirdly icky and laden with super cheese you just can't ignore them. It's like the lyrical version of "bad naked."
This style of music and Mraz's style of voice just do not lend themselves to that kind of lyric, at least not the way he does it. It's like jamming to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" on a Buffet CD, and the very next song is Buffet crooning weirdly about sex and he's not trying to be funny.
Mraz has a beautiful voice and great musical talent, so hopefully his next CD will be even better. FYI to parents out there, granted there is much worse around, but if I had a kid I would not buy them this CD, some parts are just too explicit and skeevy.
As for the lyrics of the other songs, I like most of them. A little philosophical here and there, which keeps it all fun and interesting while providing his happy sounds with some depth. He does better on the songs that don't seem like he's trying too hard.
on May 19, 2008
Ever since I first heard Jason Mraz in 2003, his songs have been played more on my computer/cd player/ipod than any other artist - over and over and over. He writes some incredible stuff, and his voice is one of if not the absolute best out there. I immediately fell in love with "Waiting for my Rocket to Come." A few years later, I was also very satisfied with "Mr.A-Z", although it felt a little over-produced at times.
I had heard mixed reviews about "We Sing..." before it was released, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I've had the album for a few days now and have gone through it many times getting acquainted with the songs, trying to give them a chance to catch on in my head. I've had a lot of trouble putting my finger on it, but it generally just doesn't grab me like his first two albums do. There are only a few songs that compel me to hit repeat - "Lucky", "Coyotes", "If it Kills Me", and "I'm Yours" (obviously, any Mraz fan already loves this one). The rest of the songs just don't stand out to me like his songs usually do.
The album as a whole is a lot more mellow, far too much so I think. I miss the upbeat feels of "Curbside Prophet", "WordPlay", and "Please Don't Tell her." It's too easy for me to tone out to most of the songs and just allow them to be background music for whatever else I'm doing. That doesn't necessarily make them bad, but it just isn't what I'm used to from Jason Mraz. The ballads lack the luster that "Absolutely Zero" contains. "Love for a Child" comes close, but it seems a little too depressing for me to enjoy repeatedly.
I went back and played some tracks from the other two albums, and they instantly confirmed what I had been thinking. They're simpler, lighter, and just more fun to listen to.
Maybe this is just Jason trying new things as an artist. Maybe I'm more underwhelmed by this CD simply because the first two were so fantastic. It seems like a lot of artists do something a little different with the third project. In a lot of ways, it's still the Jason we all love, but in a lot of other ways, it sounds like someone completely different, and not necessarily in a good way. Like others have said, I think this album suffers from a lot of production that just wasn't needed.
I've tried to give this CD the best chance I can, but I think if I had heard this without the first two albums, I would be a lot less impressed by Jason Mraz. As must as it pains me to do so, I'd rate it a 3.5/5 overall. I'm a little disappointed and hope Jason's next album is more like the spirit of the first two.
on June 14, 2013
Jason's music is terrific. On some tunes, he brings to mind a male Norah Jones; or it could be the piano sound; very hip easy-listening.
It's perfect for a driving trip or as background for a dinner party. I really love the vocal and horn arrangements. Nice scatting on Butterfly. Great production value but nothing's over produced and his vocals are wonderfully genuine but under-stated. No over the top, affected vocals. Good stuff!