Jason Mraz – We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
Release Date: May 13, 2008
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Since the he charmed the MTV circuit in 2002 with Waiting for My Rocket to Come, fueled by three hit radio singles, Jason Mraz has continued to refine his writing style from the cheerful guitar-driven pop of his first album, but not without a few glitches. Mr. A-Z in 2005 hit the sophomore slump, with most of the album failing to catch on, despite a strong debut on the charts. His new album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, however, sports a number of potential singles while showing serious songwriting progression for the 30-year-old musician.
Mraz strikes a sometimes precarious balance between impassioned love and stolid maturity, and the songs on We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things reflect that, with the equilibrium constantly in flux. Thick horn explosions ramp up the overindulgent points of love while Mraz's trademark "man and a guitar" style remains a focal point of the new album. "Make It Mine" and "Butterfly" both scream radio hit, with their playful glitz somewhat masking the singer-songwriter's kindred respect for love. His duet with Colbie Caillat, "Lucky," will turn some heads even as the era of the male-female duet seems to have faded significantly in this sort of music. What makes "Lucky" such an outstanding ballad is that both Mraz and Caillat are excellent individually in the verses as well as together on the chorus. The only downside is that Caillat doesn't necessarily distinguish herself as a guest on this song any more than if any of her contemporaries had taken the spot instead.
"Details in the Fabric" shows Mraz's acoustic side, as the song tenderly moves along without becoming boring. "Coyotes" takes on almost a club vibe with some vocal distortion and beats, but the brief orchestral interludes serve to make it a really interesting track that may initially throw listeners for a loop. "The Dynamo of Volition" continues the poppy, upbeat delivery that Mraz enjoyed on much of his first album and about half of this new one. "If It Kills Me" is delivered with a charming piano melody, and stands out among the final few songs of the album. WSWDWST is punctuated by a slowly-building closer with "A Beautiful Mess," which is most definitely worth hanging on until the end for.
The biggest problem with We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things is the order of the tracks. Most of the upbeat songs are followed by slow ones that hurt the overall momentum of the album after the fourth track. Every time Mraz tries to establish an identity for this new CD, the next song stops it dead in its tracks. As a result, it lends a lot more memorability to the upbeat ones, and doesn't allow the slower cuts to really spread their wings and sink in, despite the fact that they're quite good in their own right.
Providing the carefree soundtrack to your summer, Jason Mraz combines the playful lyrics he's always sported with lush instrumentals on his new disc, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Featuring some of the best songs he's ever written, it firmly declares that the eclectic and immensely talented musician is here to stay, proven with a huge leap forward in the songwriting and replayability factors of his music. Roll the windows down and belt out the faster songs, and pull that special someone a little closer for the slower ones; you'll both be hooked on this CD.
I love this album. Jason Mraz is one hell of a musician and his sound does not falter at all when he plays live. His music is fresh, catchy, and fun. Great review and great album. The EPs are great too because most of them contain stripped down versions of the songs.
As usual with Jason Mraz,I feel that that over half the album is absolutely fantastic and there are a handful of songs I never feel the need to listen to again.When he gets it right though.I feel he is one of the best around.
I'm digging this album fo' sho'... this and augustana's new record have been a good soundtrack to my life lately.
Tony, I can't believe that you didn't mention, "I'm Yours" in your review. Despite its simplicity, I love the song. It's catchy as heck and somehow reminds me of Hawaii (or how I picture it)... Very Jack Johnson-ish in a way.