Extended Play: Jason Mraz
Do you think your favorite artist is a one-hit wonder, or do you wonder if perhaps they have even more to offer?
We’re going to be featuring some of our favorite artists and showing you a side to their music you might not have seen. While the radio is good for the hits, let’s reel in the tunes that got away to see what we’ve been missing. This is Extended Play: Jason Mraz Edition.
You know Mr. A-Z from his 2002 hit “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” and his 2008 hits “Lucky” and “I’m Yours.” But did you know that this Californian song-maker has so much more to offer? Check out 10 of his lesser-known jams.
1) “You And I Both” (2002)
This funky early 2000s track opens Mraz’s first studio album, Waiting For My Rocket To Come. Featuring a groovy bassline, excellent percussion, and Mraz’s unsurprisingly impressive vocals, “You And I Both” served as my first introduction to Mraz and was surely not a track to be missed. Mraz sings in appreciation of his now-fragmenting relationship, but ultimately comes to terms with its dissolution.
2) “Did You Get My Message?” (2005)
This jazzy, piano-heavy romp is one of the best off of Mr. A-Z. Mraz duets with Rachel Yamagata on this track, and his raspy vocals complement hers perfectly. The track winds down gracefully as Mraz and Yamagata reign over a background of beautiful harmonized vocals.
3) “A Beautiful Mess” (2008)
With dreamy strings and quiet guitar accompaniment, Mraz sings a slow love song. “Well it kind of hurts when the / kind of words you write / kind of turn themselves into knives,” Mraz sings, describing a wonderfully chaotic relationship and the joy to be found in the convoluted minutiae of love. The song crescendos perfectly until the track fades out with twinkling piano.
4) “Only Human” (2008)
Showing off a jazzier side, “Only Human” features playful lyrics, unexpected chords, and a fabulous bass line. Mraz’s vocals are also displayed front and center on the emotional chorus as he riffs impressively. Once the horns come in and the percussion hits full force, I can’t imagine you won’t be jamming to this track.
5) “Make It Mine” (2008)
The opening track of We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. aims to make a splash, and it succeeds. The instrumentation is absolutely impeccable, complete with rich chords, amazing horn accompaniment, and arpeggiated synth riffs in the background. This song is joyous and fun and perfectly sets the mood for Mraz’s third studio album.
6) “Details In The Fabric” (ft. James Morrison) (2008)
This duet with James Morrison is one of the most emotionally raw on the album. The quiet piano picking at the beginning is overlaid with phone messages from someone right after they had an emotional breakdown. Then Mraz’s quiet vocals come in, urging us to move forward: “if it’s a broken part replace it, / if it’s a broken arm then brace it, / if it’s a broken heart then face it.” This track is meditative and inspiring, urging us to look forward even through the trials of life.
7) “93 Million Miles” (2012)
This quiet meditative track contemplates the beautiful universe and the difficulty of feeling at home in such a vast landscape. The music is warm and vibrant, and picks up perfectly after the first chorus. The lyrics are especially powerful and poignant: “Oh my irrefutable father he told me: son / sometimes it may seem dark / but the absence of the light is a necessary part.”
8) “You Fckn Did It” (2012)
Only appearing on the deluxe version of Love Is A Four Letter Word, this live track is so playful and joyous. It’s quick and clever, showing off Mraz’s famous wordplay. “You’re like my laughing gas / you got the cat to dance / you’re like Lance on a mountain in the tour de France,” Mraz sings, and that’s just a sample from the buffet of amazing lines that he spits out on this track.
9) “Back To The Earth” (2014)
This song is a joyful celebration of nature, punctuated by quiet ukulele chords and Mraz’s peppy “doo doo doos.” Commenting on the complicated whirlwind of life, Mraz muses that we can find solace by going back to our roots and getting in touch with the earth. This happy song can’t help but cheer you up, reminding you to take a breath and find harmony with nature when life gets too messy to handle.
10) “Quiet” (2014)
This simple love song describes the quiet peace one finds when with the one they love. “I will hold your hand and watch the world spin madly around this life we’re in,” Mraz sings, asking his lover, “Will you be my constant through it all?” The tranquil echoed harmonies and quiet banjo riffs perfectly suit the soothing tone of this track.
Learn more about Jason here.