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.
Here 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