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Artist List, List, Music List

Jason Mraz: Top 15 Songs

While Jason Mraz’ new mustachioed style makes him look more like that creepy dude selling drugs outside your high school than the boy-faced wunderkind he was just 10 years ago, there’s no doubt he still has a knack for tickling the underbelly of pop radio.

Does this scare anyone else besides me?

His January single, “I Won’t Give Up,” is still picking up steam, and provides an emphatic response to questions of Mraz’ ability to write a follow-up hit to 2008’s ubiquitous “I’m Yours.”

While I only gave his new disc, Love is a Four Letter Word, a once-over, I found it to be solid competition for the worst Mraz release (it’s currently in a tight battle with Mr. A-Z). “I Won’t Give Up” was the only track worthy of another play, and while I’m sure my assessment is a little harsh, the first single is undoubtedly the best song on the record.

Since Mraz made a well-publicized appearance on VH1’s “Storytellers” a few weeks ago, I figured the time is ripe for a list. I didn’t watch the episode and haven’t read his autobiography—I’m sure they’re both brilliant—but I feel like I’ve got a good handle on Jason’s discography.

That being said, I’m sure we’ll disagree on some points, and you’ll whip out a couple deep cuts you can’t believe I haven’t heard, but there’s one good thing about making a Jason Mraz list: He’s a pop artist, and any fan that gets into super-hipster mode over this article is just kidding herself (what’s up, sexual profiling?).

Let’s just enjoy the hell out of this list, shall we?

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • “Make it Mine” – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
  • “Sleep All Day” – Waiting for My Rocket to Come
  • “A Beautiful Mess” – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

 15. I’ll Do Anything

2002 – Waiting for My Rocket To Come

This was sort of Mraz’ introduction to America. His witty wordplay was in full force (“We can keep chillin’ like ice cream fillin’ / We can be like Kool & the Gang if you wanna hang”), but he comes across like Shia Labeouf in I, Robot: A smart-ass kid with a quick tongue that you clearly can’t take seriously.

14. Love for a Child

2008 – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

This is the other side of Mraz; a subdued, introspective young man who reflects upon his life as the child of divorced parents. “Was it mom who put my dad out on his ass,” he asks, “or the other way around?”

13. Please Don’t Tell Her

2005 – Mr. A-Z

Here’s a weird tale of love. “She was the girl with the broadest shoulders,” Mraz coos, “but she’d die if I crawled over them.” The track has addictive lull to it, switching between hooks with ease. This sounds quite a bit different than anything else Mraz has made.

12. If It Kills Me

2008 – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

The story of young lust told over a staccato’d piano beat. Hear Mraz lure a prospective chickadee away from her boyfriend in less than five minutes.

11. Curbside Prophet

2002 – Waiting for My Rocket to Come

Here lies the essence of Mraz’ debut album. The main line, “I’m just a curbside prophet / with my hand in my pocket,” is the perfect innuendo to represent the sexual tension engendered by a man waiting for his rocket to come. Totally I, Robot Shia.

10. Wordplay

2005 – Mr. A-Z

Mraz knew what made his first album a hit: his never-ending energy and what some would call clever lyrics. He mixed both of those things to take his best shot at pop radio on his second album. It didn’t reach the heights of his previous singles, but I’ll give him a gold star for effort.

9. Details in the Fabric

2008 – Waiting for My Rocket to Come

A nice little ditty to bring the ultimate chill-wave on Mraz’ third album, “Details in the Fabric” is the first truly beautiful song in his discography. While he did enlist the help of James Morrison on guitar and vocals, Mraz runs the show with heartfelt lyrics and finger-picked notes on the six-string. By the way, this track comes complete with a answering machine message about diarrhea.

8. Life is Wonderful

2005 – Mr. A-Z

This track is an interesting journey into Mraz’ psyche. The spaced-out music beautifully sets the tone for plenty of cooing about life’s delicate balance. This easily stacks up to any of his slow-tempo work, and opens Mr. A-Z on a good note.

7. I Won’t Give Up

2012 – Love is a Four Letter Word

My hopes for Mraz’ fourth full-length LP were high when I heard this single in early January. Alas, nothing else on the album really stacks up to this excellent song. I get kind of a James Taylor vibe from the guitar/vocal combination. “I Won’t Give Up” represents a new direction for Mraz, sounding nothing like the first two albums and even markedly different from the third.

6. Who Needs Shelter

2002 – Waiting for My Rocket To Come

While this song is a little unsympathetic to the homeless population, “Who Needs Shelter” is a splendid acoustic ballad on Mraz’ mostly fast-paced debut. If this was my morning alarm every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t mind.

5. Live High

2008 – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

This song was the height of Mraz’ semi-pseudo-righteousness phase, complete with a full gospel choir. “Lift me up to the almighty,” they shriek as Mraz hums along, simply giddy that he could sneak another weed joke into a song title. This one has an undeniable swing to it.

4. Lucky

2008 – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

Has there been a better radio duet in the past decade? Mraz and Colbie Caillat combined for this gem that supplemented sales of We Sing after the love for the album’s lead single faded. The chemistry is almost palpable, and while they might not be together, they sure write a damn good song as a pair.

3. You and I Both

2002 – Waiting for My Rocket to Come

The opening song of an artist’s debut album is typically strong, and this is no exception. An infectious acoustic thumper that was far enough under the radar to love forever, “You and I Both” is both fun and melancholy. Ever the polite gentleman, Mraz knows “It’s okay if you have to go away,” but will always “remember the magic that was you and me.” Good for you, Jason. Good for you.

2. I’m Yours

2008 – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

Not much explanation needed. Take it or leave it.

1. The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)

2002 – Waiting for My Rocket to Come

It was a close race between the #1 and #2 songs, but I had to go with the upbeat jam here. Mraz’ charm is in full effect, and this was the perfect song to throw him into the spotlight in the new millenium. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since this single, but Mraz has built a decent discography since then. This will undoubtedly be in the “almost-forgotten-golden-oldie” category in 15 years. America.

LISTEN TO THIS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY


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About Alex Smith

Alex Smith is a writer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He currently attends the University of Missouri in Columbia and is pursuing a dual degree in journalism and english.

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