Mr. A-Z

Studio Album by released in 2005
Mr. A-Z's tracklist:
Life Is Wonderful
Geek in the Pink
Did You Get My Message?
Mr. Curiosity
Bella Luna
O. Lover
Please Don't Tell Her
The Forecast
Song for a Friend

Mr. A-Z review

Jason Mraz's breakthrough 2002 hit, The Remedy (I Won't Worry) established him as a funnier, funkier version of John Mayer. On Mr. A-Z, produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel), he continues mixing up folk melodies and hip-hop beats. Of all the good-hearted singer/songwriters out there these days, the elfish Mraz is among the smartest and smirkiest. Witness first single Wordplay, which, in his trademark tongue-twisting style, Mraz uses to launch a two-pronged pre-emptive strike against both critics and the sophomore slump. Half of Mr. A-Z keeps up that summer-windy, winking vibe, and tracks like Life Is Wonderful, Did You Get My Message? (with Rachael Yamagata) and Geek In The Pink (with ?uestlove, who has appeared on 75% of all records in 2005) show off the 27-year-old's gift for pretty melody and an adolescence evidently spent with a house full of pop and rap tapes.

Mr. A-Z begins on a weak note with the sparse ballad Life Is Wonderful, which features simplistic lyrics straight out of "Sesame Street." Thankfully, Mraz's trademark, ever-cheeky wordplay returns with the appropriately titled Wordplay as well as the sexually charged and funky Geek In The Pink. While the first half of the album is fun and playful, the rest is introspective and lovelorn. The stripped-down Mr. Curiosity is an earnest ballad about the "mystery" of love that features a curious, operatic interlude – a talent that Mraz showed off during recent performances opening for Alanis Morissette. Spanish rhythms replace the hip-hop influence in songs such as Bella Luna and O Lover. Plane Goes Down travels from lullaby-esque to commanding, closing with an explosion of Mraz's vocal range. It is his most inspired and thoughtful record to date.

Jason Mraz hails from Mechanicsville, VA, where he grew up as a fan of the Dave Matthews Band and local roots musicians the Agents of Good Roots. But it was Mraz's interest and participation in musical theater that was his first introduction to music. Mraz moved to New York following high school to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy but dropped out a year later when he took up the guitar and began to focus on songwriting. Nonetheless, Mraz's training as a vocalist would show itself on his debut album, which is marked by the pure clarity and range of his vocals. After busking around New York, Mraz eventually returned to Virginia; but, in 1999, he ultimately made his way West, settling in San Diego, CA, known for its coffeehouse scene and support of singer/songwriters, most notably Jewel. Over the next two years, Mraz's following grew outside of San Diego to Los Angeles, garnering the attention of record labels. His debut effort, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, was released in November of 2002. It blended Mraz's early influences and coming-of-age sensibilities with country, roots rock, the poeticism of coffeehouse folk, elements of jazz, and hip-hop's rhythmic charge. The sophomore studio album, Mr. A-Z, appeared in July 2005.

Rate review4.71
Total votes - 276

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