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Sat Jul 26 15:10:26 SAST 2014

Album review: Jason Mraz - 'Love is a Four Letter Word'

Nikita Ramkissoon | 08 June, 2012 12:20

The first thing I do when I find good music is play it for my dad. In the case of Jason Mraz, bad, bad idea.

I now despise Mraz’s first hit album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Not because it’s awful. But because I gave it to my dad and he overplayed it to the point of rage – because Mraz is just so damn good. I was surprised I’d never heard of him before, as he had already had three albums before that.

His follow-up Love is a Four Letter Word is almost as quirky and cute as the last one, but not quite as charming. That’s not to say it’s bad – it’s just... not up to scratch, really.

Incorporating a bit more international sounds and textures to his traditional folk pop of hits like I’m Yours, and turned up the chilled-out vibes that make you feel like you’re on an island sipping a cocktail out of a coconut. Blissful.

With some tracks being chosen by fans, it’s surprising that the album is very unlike We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things in the sense that it’s Mraz developing rather than stagnating into the same familiar sounds – which is never a bad thing. But in this case, he’s relying too much on his God-given talent than working on an actual album.

Mraz engages with his friendly, soothing voice.

Musically, he knows what he’s doing. It’s not complicated. Simple guitar, some piano and complementary background beats are all he needs, because his voice is what matters the most.

But this album is almost as if he’s not really into it.

The lyrics are quite silly and soppy sometimes, especially on The Woman I Love. But maybe that’s just me. Love songs just seem too contrived – especially coming from an artist who prizes himself in his non-conformist quirkiness.

Notable tracks are Freedom Song, Everything is Sound and The World as I See It, all containing classic Mraz with a kind of new spring in his step.

My favourite is Who’s Thinking About You Now?, which uses simple guitar, coupled with straightforward drums surrounding effortless vocals and harmonies. It’s pretty.

I don’t think it’s as good as its predecessor, but Love is a Four Letter Word is definitely worth a listen, but I wouldn’t rush out and buy it. It’s on my playlist because it’s cute and nicely chilled.

Maybe I just might give this one to my dad. I won’t mind it being overplayed, because it would be a lot softer and more in the background, and that’s the quality I dig about it.

Rating: 6/10

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Sat Jul 26 15:10:26 SAST 2014 ::