‘Did you get my message?’ he once asked on his 2006 follow up Mr. a-z and for myself, like many I’m sure, the answer was perhaps a resounding yes as it was hard not to fall in love once again with another serving of tongue in cheek, quick fire rhymes and rhythms from America’s own Geek in the pink.
And so two years on we come to album number three, the imaginatively titled ‘We Sing. We Dance. We steal things’ with what is in fairness a seemingly different message this time round.
Rest assured though Mraz’s candle has hardly burnt out, far from it, the fire is still there in abundance but having spent time on previous records spelling it out to us what he’s all about, it appears only natural Mraz has had to considered whether any regurgitation of previous hits like ‘Curbside Prophet’ and ‘Wordplay’ would have only appeared a little too self-indulgent.
Hence, what is on offer is a journey into the world of the many complexities that make up the man behind the mask with love and philosophy amongst other topics providing much of the fuel.
Straight from the opening soft and summery , bouncy and bubbly ‘Make It Mine’ complete with brass section and choir any cobwebs are simply brushed away and the engine is up and running, allowing Mraz to take ahold of the wheel on a journey full of, at times bliss, beauty and bruises, (and thats not just the lyrics) with the likes of seductive and sexy RnB esque ‘Butterfly’ full of fun and fantasy alongside simplistic and painfully honest tracks like ‘If It Kills Me’, rich in James Morrison inspiration.
No punches are held, but once again Mraz’s capacity to chew up and spit out such delicate subject matter in such diverse ways seems to command further respect on this album. Sarcasm and seriousness go hand in hand, no-nonsense beautifully reflective numbers like ‘Details In The Fabric’, (in which Mraz duets with Morrison) and its soul searching chorus
‘Hold your own, know your name and go your own way’ stand side by side next to the rather twisted and ironical ‘Love For A Child’, a song in which Mraz examines the impact of a seemingly fractured upbringing, joking ‘It’s kind of nice to work the floors since the divorce, i’ve been enjoying Christmases and birthday cakes’.
Even in ‘Dynamo Of Volition’, a hark back to the tongue tripping days of albums gone by, with its genre bending elements of jazz, funk and pop all rolled neatly into one, profound philosophy is fused together with slapstick stupidity set against a backdrop of constantly changing funky guitar rhythms.
Ironically however, the album draws to a close with the soft, sing a long and mellow ‘A Beautiful Mess’, a title rather apt perhaps considering the conflicting range of sounds and emotions that Mraz has to offer to us, somewhat scattered throughout.
Nevertheless, expect fun, funk, laid back sitting the shack tracks,(Live High especially could have easily been written watching the sunset, expect thrills, some spills, comedy, tragedy, softness and sweetness(namely the very Jack Johnson like ukulele inspired first single I’m Yours) and expect much, much more, all the essential ingredients of a highly recommended summer purchase.
You will sing, you might dance but hopefully you won’t steal.