I listen to Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” and Ben Howard’s “Every Kingdom” daily. Now, I’ve added Jason Mraz’s newest release, “YES!” to that list.
This album screams love, creativity and craft, and the true essence of happiness radiates from start to finish. This is not just a relationship album. It is love of the Earth, love of friends and love of life. Adding the all-female group Raining Jane to the mix was a daring (and awesome) touch. Raining Jane’s folk-rock sound balances out Mraz’s chill, nostalgic vibe.
The album begins with “Rise,” a sweet and short instrumental, which seamlessly flows into the second track, the album’s first single, “Love Someone.” “Love Someone” is a mellow, life theme song and some of the sounds you hear can be created with common kids’ toys! (I’m picturing Mr. Mraz sitting on the side of a back road with a good ol’ Little Tikes piano. Talent, my friends. Talent).
As the album progresses, the poetic “Hello, You Beautiful Thing” showcases three chords and a brilliant mind. “Long Drive,” one of my favorites on the album, originated with just four words in mind: take the long way. So, basically, this wonderful piece of art, which is now on my life playlist, was made from advice that most of us would avoid. (Hm, I see what you did there, Jason). “Long Drive” is a slowed-down song. The upbeat rhythms of the previous songs take a break, and this showcases Mraz’s versatility within the same genre.
“Everywhere” almost wasn’t on the album, but honestly, I am so glad it is. When I listen to this song, I hear a bit of Haim’s “The Wire” in it. (Is that bad? No, not at all. Carry on).
“Best Friend” makes your heart smile. It’s a reminder that you are not the only one on Earth and there are people out there who appreciate you and vice versa. This adds another element of love to the album.
The album goes on and then…wait…is that? What? ...whoa. Mraz covers the classic “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” because he wanted an a cappella track on the album and thought he couldn’t write something that cool, so he threw a bit of nostalgia on the album. (Good choice, Jason. Good choice). Raining Jane for backup is a very innocent touch. We can really hear Jason’s range and how amazing he really is.
“YES!” is packed with positivity and creativity. This album is so refreshing. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go play it right now — this may or may not be the fourth time today…
MOVE gives Jason Mraz’s “YES!” 5 out of 5 stars.