CD review: Jason Mraz, ‘Yes!’

Editor’s note: We’ll have an interview with Jason Mraz in the paper next week, but before then we thought we’d share this review of his latest album, which he’ll be in Dallas in support of Sept. 2 and 3. 

MRAZHere to make you feel better about your life: Jason Mraz, the Oprah of white-boy balladry. He’s got your “remedy,” and it’s called Yes!, an album of life-affirming mantras expressed simply by song name: “Rise, “You Can Rely On Me,” “Shine,” and so on. It’s true, Mraz is Mraz-ing us with his lovey-dovies, which is just what he’s been doing since he dropped the reggae and wordplay.

When “Lucky” and “I’m Yours” sent him and his fedora into superstardom, he wasn’t about to go back to his scrappy hipster ways (though didn’t you just love him then?). Because if anyone can sell you the warm and fuzzies, it’s the “geek in pink” — the same hopeless romantic who gives them to you when you’re slow dancing at a wedding. “Love Someone” fits that sensitive-guy-with-a-guitar role, but so does most of the album: “Best Friend” is another ode to a confidante, “3 Things” is self-help in list form and “Out of My Hands” imparts a let-it-go moral.

What’s most telling about his career at this juncture is that he’s covering a Boyz II Men song (his a cappella take on “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” is actually quite lovely). For maximum swoon effect, the adult-contemporary fluff of Yes! — recorded with girl group Raining Jane, who will be Mraz’s special guests at his Dallas concerts Sept. 2 and 3 — is full of honeyed acoustics and sentiments as subtle as one of those inspirational chain emails you get from your grandma.  Yeah, that. (2.5 stars)

— Chris Azzopardi

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Give A Damn, get some goodies and help out a good cause all at the same time

Cyndi Lauper

Everybody knows that Cyndi Lauper is not just an LGBT rights supporter, she is a committed activist who is willing to put her time, talent and money where her mouth is when it comes to equality for all.

And now, she’s putting her sparkly high-heeled shoes where her mouth is, too.

The shoes — “Glittery Heels Worn and Signed by Cyndi Lauper” — are just one of the 43 items up for auction in the third annual winter Give A Damn online auction. The list also includes opportunities to meet a wide range of celebrities (Lauper, Jason Mraz, Ricky Martin, The Scissor Sisters, Lily Tomlin and more) in person, a chance to have lunch with Carson Kressley, 2 VIP gold hot seat ticket packages to Lady Gaga’s sold-out show at MSG, tickets to see U2 at the Meadowlands, signed items from folks like Dolly Parton, a Skype chat with Chely Wright, the chance to have Lauper, Rosie O’Donnell or Sara Silverman record your voice mail message — and much, much more.

All the proceeds from the auction go to help fund the Give A Damn Campaign, a web-based initiative launched by Lauper’s True Colors Fund “with the goal of educating and engaging everyone, especially straight people, in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.”

So head on over to the auction page, check out the items up for auction and bid on one or two if you can. I mean, after all, who wouldn’t like the chance to walk in Cyndi Lauper’s shoes — literally?!

—  admin