Edge

Mr. A-Z is pleasant, but not perfect

Anyone who has passed advertisements for Mr. A-Z, Jason Mraz’s newest CD, knows what’s coming. With an album title that plays on his last name (Hint: Mraz = Mr. A-Z.) and a single like “Wordplay,” what else should a listener expect? Mraz warms up as he slips some wordplay in the first relaxing track, “Life is Wonderful”: “It takes a thought to make a word / And it takes some words to make an action / And it takes some work to make it work.”

From here, Mraz demonstrates self-awareness in the unpretentious “Wordplay” as he sings in reference to his 2002 hit single, “I got your remedy / For those who don’t remember me / Well, let me introduce you to my style / I try to keep a jumble in the lyrics, never mumble / When the music’s makin’ people tongue-tied.” With this kind of scat-talk-inspired singing, Mraz shows off his agile tongue’s ability to turn potentially blurry babbling into meaningful, mellifluous tunes. He’s silly, slyly sexual and self-deprecating in bouncy songs like “Geek in the Pink” and “Clockwatching” which playfully cover topics ranging from first impressions to time-crunch quickies.

Mraz shines in his more soulful songs, like “Mr. Curiosity,” a piano-backed piece that reflects vulnerability on his quest for love which includes his own glorious, rich operatic aria. “Plane” evokes the separation anxiety of flying away from a lover in a refreshingly serene way, in contrast to today’s hustle bustle. The latter parts of the album begin to drag until the powerful “Song for a Friend,” which features a jolting reprise by Mraz’s hometown high school choir that closes out the album.

Hannah Bae can be contacted at h.bae@umiami.edu.

October 18, 2005

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.