Today we are changing it up a bit by aiming our focus on a Grammy-winning pop/folk sensation who has created quite an impressive catalog of songs in his decade in the spotlight - some of his best work in live shows in lieu of studio albums, making him an ideal fit for this particularly performance-based column - the geek in the pink himself, Mr. Jason Mraz. This week marks the release of his new EP, titled LIVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, which acts as the appetizer to his much-awaited follow-up to the incredibly successful WE SING, WE DANCE, WE STEAL THINGS - which featured his biggest hit to date, "I'm Yours"; along with the Grammy-winning Best Pop Duet, "Lucky", which was also featured on Season Two of GLEE - LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD. Four letters or more, Mraz proves time and time again he is a master storyteller with an unmistakable, singular style all his own - the handful of new songs featured on this spectacular live album attesting to that with grand, soulful regard. Even allowing for some audience banter and amusing back-and-forths, the LIVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD EP is the ideal way to bring us all up to date with one of the most compelling solo acts that you can consistently find out on the road trying out charismatic and dramatic new material throughout the year, the new compositions featured here in a special solo YouTube concert acting as a perfect compliment and counterpoint in a career packed with a vast array of musical styles, aural sounds and sonic textures that only Mr. A-Z would dare compose and expose to the world. If the rest of the album follows the lyrical strength and musical dexterity of this EP release, we are in for quite a ride come April 17. Plus, we also have a look at his moving and memorable new single, "I Won't Give Up", the first single from the new album, in both studio and live versions!
The World As He Sees It
Possessing one of the most versatile and emotional pop tenors in the music business today - or, on Broadway, for that matter - Jason Mraz is in a vocal class nearly all his own. Never shying away from pushing beyond even his considerably impressive boundaries, his new EP, LIVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, is an expert evocation of the amiability he exudes as he takes the live stage - especially in one of his favorite cites, as he muses in the relaxed and entertaining asides, San Diego. Amply evident also on this mini-album are all the hallmarks his devoted fans have come to expect from his elegantly twisting and dramatically engrossing compositions - "The World As I See It" acting as a foremost example of the merging of beauty, nature, art and all the other multitude of elements Mraz imbues into his work - or, should I say, art. Time and time again, Mraz impresses with his way with a lyric, yet his music, too, shows significant growth in its dynamic, yet bare style - unadorned; unclouded; clean. Since so much of Mraz's message - in not only his music, but the man himself - is about love, peace and acceptance, as well as clean living, the new LIVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD EP makes it difficult not to love the boy behind WAITING FOR MY ROCKET TO COME seemingly all grown up and reaching a musical maturity quite possibly undreamed by many, if not most.
Without further ado, check out the entire YouTube video of LIVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, featuring four brand new Mraz melodies - the trippy and artful "The World As I See It"; the spunky and filthily exuberant "You Fckn Did It"; the emotionally explosive, "The Woman I Love"; and the catchy, dizzying and lyrically dexterous, "I Never Knew You".
Now, take a look at the official music video for Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up", the first song to be released off of his forthcoming LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORLD album.
Check out Jason's live performance of his new single, "I Won't Give Up" on THE Ellen Degeneres SHOW earlier today.
Which version of "I Won't Give Up" do you prefer - the studio version or live? He truly seems so at home in both!
Lastly, let us speculate what other tracks exist that Jason has tried out in concert in the past several months that may or may not make it onto the final mix of the new full-length album experience. Here are some surefire highlights from the scores of new songs he has written and performed relatively recently that seem destined to find a way into this new project, whether on the actual album or on the subsequent tour.
"The Woman I Love"
"Love Looks Like"
"This Movie Is Rated Ours"
"Living In The Moment"
"93 Million Miles" - performed live at his recent sold-out Carnegie Hall concert.
"When We Die"
As a special bonus, this is the song that Jason chose as his favorite recent composition when he participated in my MODERN MUSIC MASTERS column in 2010 - interview available here - "Frank D. Fixer", live at FARM AID 25, introduced by country legend Willie Nelson! Be sure to view the rest of this smashing concert, as well, for some further performances of new songs!
So, what songs would you like to see make it onto Jason's new album? There are certainly some seriously sensational selections to sample above! "93 Million Miles" and "When We Die" are among the best songs he has ever written, for sure - and "Frank D. Fixer" is a winner, as well.