That moment when you realize your fav musician is not a god

25 May

I love me some Jason Mraz. He’s the greatest musician out there. See him live just once if you don’t believe me. His ability to ad lib and work a crowd is unparalleled. His voice is strong and rich and sweet and beautiful. His lyrics are poetic and funny and poignant.

And his most recent album, “Love is a Four Letter Word,” is not good.

Perhaps I dislike it because it’s so different from all his other work. The songs are more “traditional,” more like those bland things you’d hear on the radio by other white guys with guitars. There’s less of the wordplay Mraz fans have come to know and love. The biggest example of his wordplay on this album is found in the hook of the released song, “I Won’t Give Up.” In fact, the best of everything on the album is found in “I Won’t Give Up,” and personally, I take it as a very bad sign when the best song off an album is the released song.

Don’t worry, Jason, I won’t give up on you. I just won’t be playing “Love” very often.

Instead? Best album of the year so far goes to another oft loved (but not as good as Jason) white guy with guitar: John Mayer. “Born and Raised” also sounds nothing like his previous stuff, which I find to be fabulous. Somehow, it’s even better.

The album can best be classified as bluegrass, with a lot of folk influences. Lots of acoustic, lots of blues, lots of harmonica, and a feeling that, though I don’t know a lot of his music, Mayer is channeling some serious Bob Dylan.

Consider, if you will, the first song off the album, “Queen of California”:

Also needing to give a shoutout to this wonderful story track, which has such an interesting military drumbeat throughout it, “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967.” Mayer’s phrasing is lovely. This is song writing perfection right here:

To anyone who’s listened to “Love is a Four Letter Word” or “Born and Raised,” what’d you think?

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