#159 Jason Mraz – Mr. A-Z (2005)

“Mr. A-Z” was Jason Mraz’s sophomore effort following up his critically acclaimed debut “Waiting On My Rocket To Come”. On the albums first single released (Wordplay) Jason alludes to the “sophomore slump” and it is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. This disc is nice and truly has a few shining moments, but it is lacking the powerful craftsmanship of his first record. The critics agreed and despite reaching #3 on the billboard album charts and being more commercially successful than his first record, it was largely panned by critics. While I rarely agree with music critics ,I have to in this case. This effort is more uneven musically and has fewer strong songs that can show off his songwriting craftsmanship. That being said the albums first single “Wordplay” is far and away the best cut and stands up with any of Jason’s other offerings. It’s an up tempo musical gem that is accompanied by Mr. A-Z’s classic word trickery. It is absolutely 1 of those songs that you do not want to hear first thing in the morning because it is virtually impossible to get it out of your head the rest of the day. The song “Geek In The Pink” is a fun tune that borders on some insane attempt by Mraz to produce a dance hit complete with Justin Timberlake sounding vocals. In 2007 an American Idol contestant performed this song and stirred up enough interest that it reached #22 on iTunes download charts 2 years after the albums release. My other favorite song on this record is the acoustic cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man”. It’s a song I never really liked until I heard this version by Jason. If you have ever heard any of the cover songs that he has recorded for soundtracks and the like, you know that he really makes it his own interpretation. There are other good efforts here, to be sure, such as “Life Is Wonderful”, “Bella Luna” & “Song For A Friend”. A note here that on the CD single for “Wordplay” one of the 3 tracks is the original demo for “I’m Yours”. All in all “Mr.A-Z” is a good disc and the calm before the storm.

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