Sunday 13 May 2012

Feedback: JASON MRAZ

Responses to my article "JASON MRAZ: From Genius to Irrelevant" - with my responses to the responses! 

CHRISTA: As a "diehard" I have to say I agree, to some point. But he's always been easy-listening pop, with an occasional twist of raw (sometimes naughty) honesty. The difference now is that he has chosen to only offer the world the raw honesty that is upbeat. (His confession... watch the interview w/ Neil Patrick Harris.)

But this in itself is risky because he has done this for very personal reasons. He sees himself as a light to the world, spreading a happy vibe, and he recognizes that his fans are yearning (in every aspect of life) to surround themselves with happiness. It's an epidemic among 30 somethings, and it is making the world a better place. But in the sensational music world, that's risky.

Another reason to do this (I speculate) is that he is very, very much in the public eye now. A few years ago he could share the ups AND the downs without the world wondering which cute girl he was singing about. After his very public relationship and break-up with Tristan Prettyman, I think he's going to remain a bit more private and protective of those relationships. It's possible that he doesn't care what people are saying but the kind of guy he is, well, he doesn't want his fame to cause his close friends to be bashed by the populace.

Lastly, I say give the new album another chance. The sound varies quite a lot, having an almost country sound in some songs. But even better, carrying a Paul Simon vibe that is timeless. And most importantly, there are a few gems (93 Million and Living in the Moment) which will not just catapult into top radio play, but will become anthems in people's lives. When the message is, "Love each other, be good to yourself," you can overlook a few bland songs and embrace the rest... that's what the skip button is for.

By the way, I find it fascinating that he thanked Ryan Adams on this CD. And that I only found your blog because of the Ryan Adams video and blog you posted long ago. They are SO very different in sound and message and yet I'm obsessed with both.

Jason chooses to set aside the melancholy songs and offer the world only happy; Ryan jokes that his happiest song will drive you to take Prozac. My yin and yang, perhaps.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I have genuinely tried to give the album some more listens -- but I find it very bland. 

KITFR: I didn't know any of this stuff about his personal life, but I can understand it. I guess that's what I'm feeling though -- that something has been taken OUT of his music. What is art without the pain and heartbreaks? For me, not much! 

ANONYMOUS #1: agree the album went in a bit of different direction but I don't think it was a bad one. Personally i don't think too much optimism is bad, a bit absurd but certainly not bad. Besides he's still the same as he has always been just listen to when he preforms live, its as funny, sexy and narcissistic as it was back in the day. I admit I am a diehard but I found the new album to be just fine. My favorite is still We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

KITFR: Glad you like it! I wish I did, really. I think optimism is great. By and large, on this blog, I am optimistic and supportive of artists in all disciplines.. just found myself really disappointed with the latest effort from Mraz. But that's just me!

KIRSTENMuch as I would love to constantly go on about the awesomeness of Jason Mraz I find that I have to agree that his current stuff just isn't like how it was before. Sometimes I find that he takes himself too seriously now, whereas the attraction of his older music was that he seemed to be a little more self-deprecating and into his silliness rather than the whole kumbaya-we-must-live-high thing. I agree that the message is good, but when almost every one is like this it starts to feel a little preachy and annoying and makes you go, "But what about all the OTHER parts of life, which are just as beautiful if not as happy?"

KITFR: I completely agree!

MR. A-Z: understand the whole preachy thing can get annoying. The only thing is that when people preach it is usually about something political, personal or religious. The kind of preaching he does is more general, more towards our perfect aspirations: Be happy and make other people happy as well. As hippie-ish as it is, I believe it is something we should all try to do; you know just without the drugs, jam fests and protests.

KITFR: Perhaps. What he does bores me and doesn't have the same effect. I mean, Barry White used to make me feel happy, just like Cameron Crowe movies. Both are often cheesy and overly optimistic, but they don't disgard pain, they embrace it. I guess I just find the optimism of Mraz's stuff a little see through, I don't buy it. 

CHRIS BURTON: Intrigued to read this considering your American Pie love-in. 

KITFR: I think this is a bit of a dig from Chris regarding me spending a week writing about the 'American Pie' movies. And of course, they're a big Hollywood franchise. I get what Chris means, but as I wrote back to him on Facebook; I love what I love, often it's independent films or foreign films but, also, I love Hollywood movies! I feel like it's a different issues - but I get where you're coming from Chris!

ANDINAI agree that the current albums aren't as great as the first, but I still love listen to some of his current songs. I think some artist does change after they are successful but I don't think he completely fail. Hope he'll create a record as great as the first. By the way, I'm going to see his concert next month. And excited for it!

KITFR: Enjoy the gig! He's a lot of fun live!

ANONYMOUS  #2: I am a Diehard fan, and while I know his latest album could have been better, I think he made it for himself more than anyone else. He as gone through a lot lately and he admitted that he was really considering quitting. It made me really sad to think that he might quit. But with this new album he really wanted to explore the great things in life to remind himself of why he was doing what he was doing. The new songs are still amazing to me. But in a different way. If you always compare one song or album to another, you will always have an opinion of which is better. That's why I think this album should be judged as a stand alone album, and it should be seen as a new Mraz, not a worse one.

KITFR: Nice points anonymous. And I wish I could separate one album from the other -- and in many ways I do. I guess I just didn't like this album much, I find it very bland, and felt somewhat similar about his previous album too. But it's interesting that fans of his are coming here and talking about how he's had a hard time in relationships, and in wanting to quit -- and you're right, I'd hate for him to quit, he's such a great talent -- and clearly, so many of you fans are still on board and enjoying his music, and that's the most important thing! 

Care to share?

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