Mystical Magical Rhythmical Radical Ride

Jason Mraz

Interrabang/BMG, 2023

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Three years ago I reviewed the last Jason Mraz album, which was one of the worst musical experiences of the year. Well, Mr. A-Z is back again, this time, experimenting with some dance aspects while also reuniting with Martin Terefe, the producer who helped craft some of his biggest hits. No guest appearances from Tiffany Haddish this time, thank God. After the last album completely bombed, maybe Mraz decided it was time to think differently about his music.

From the get go, “Getting Started” shows a different side. Reuniting with his old band Raining Jane, he continues his positive streak with an upbeat dance groove that actually makes this track tolerable. Like the type you would overhear in line waiting for coffee at Starbucks or Wawa. The orchestral dance breakdown at the end is a bit much, but that’s what most people expect from a Mraz record. On the other hand, “I Feel Like Dancing” is crap, pure and simple—a white guy talking about how he dances; it feels like one of the lower tier disco songs from the end of the seventies. Skip this.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

By shifting over to an Adult Alternative disco sound, Mraz sounds like he’s trying whatever he thinks would get him back to the charts. Unfortunately, you mostly wind up with crappy song after crappy song. What are you supposed to make of a song called “Pancakes & Butter”? It reminds me of Colbie Calliat’s “Bubbly.” The maudlin lovey-dovey of songs like this always makes me cringe, particularly when I know artists like Mraz or Train used to have much better songs in their canons. Lyrics like “If you need lunch, I got your snack….” make it seem laughable that six people took part in writing it.

I went into this record hoping it might be a kind of return to roots for Mraz. I liked some of his early stuff like “Bella Luna” and I haven’t heard anything like that from him in years. This is just a sad state of affairs. You would think having been recently divorced and coming to terms with his sexuality that he might come back with some James Taylor type of introspective record, but nope, it’s just positivity all the way and a few detours like “Little Time,” that don’t go anywhere or say anything significant. The only time he gets autobiographical is “Lovesick Romeo,” which is just another “life is great, I tried to love you but don’t love me back but I’m fine” sort of thing, with a bad sax solo that I was hoping for better from, but was left dangling again. “You Might Like It” sounds like a self-help therapist; it’s dated and something he’s done over and over again.

And pretty much like that, the record is over. It’s nowhere near as trash as the last record, but Mraz needs to change his approach instead of just following his whims and doing whatever might get him some TikTok likes.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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