Jason Mraz ditches his quirky mash-up of hip-hop and reggae rhythms for a purely acoustic “Yes!”
Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz recently released his fifth studio album “Yes!,” which is a proven return to his lyrical safehaven that explores the depths of his folk-style and contends to newcomer, Ed Sheeran.
Mraz strips down in “Yes!,” the album which is noted as his first acoustic album of his career. Accompanied by the all-female quartet, Raining Jane, Mraz delivers a mellow, rich sound empowered by his soft vocals and the strings and percussion of his partners.
From start to finish, “Yes!” is a love story told through a graceful vibe and layered harmonies. The first song on the album, “Rise” offers a warm introduction to listeners with it’s soft strings, piano and choir singers that set the acoustic tone of the album.
“Love Someone,” the lead single off the album, is the soundtrack of a summer romance. The song is backed by Mraz’s strumming guitar that revives hushed ballads. “Hello, You Beautiful Thing” is the album’s happy-go-lucky track that brightens the tracklist with the spot-on harmonies and could easily become the album’s second single.
“Long Drive” is a melodramatic tune that bring back memories of that high-school romance with its soaring chorus while “Everywhere” is unsettling with it’s creepy lyrics of being “everything in everywhere” with a drum-heavy groove that seems rocky among other songs on the purely acoustic album tracklist.
“Best Friend” is forgettable with its lacking chorus but overall, carries a lovely theme.
The seventh song on the album, “Quite” is just that with its soft introduction of echoing vocals before piano chords, harmonies and percussion are added to the mix to lighten things up.
“Out of My Hands” on the other hand, carries a distinct SoCal sound with its heavy post-chorus.
“It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” welcome a shift to the album with Mraz’s shining vocals among Raining Jane’s dominant chorus.
“3 Things” is a summer track of positive, uplifting slogans and singalong chorus that’s amplified by a strumming guitar.
“You Can’t Rely on Me” is a universal soulful anthem that listeners are unsure if Mraz is singing to a friend or a lover. Either way, the organ sprinkled throughout the instrumentation of this track bring it to life.
“Back to the Earth” is a carefree track that revisits the bare basics and nature’s solace with lyrics like “Whenever my head starts to hurt / Before it goes from feeling bad to feeling worse / I turn off my phone, I get down low and put my hands in the dirt.”
“A World With You” is Mraz’s best try at a country ballad with the steel guitar and romantic lyrics that evade the twang.
The album closes with “Shine,” which carries tribal drums, hand-claps and personifying lyrics that make this track the most psychedelic on the album. While the subject matter is far-out in comparison to the rest of the tracks on the album, it’s one of the most beautiful stories told through Mraz’s eccentric songwriting.
Overall, the album is an invigorating change up, but success nonetheless despite Mraz’s return to the basics by ditching his gentle hip-hop beats and reggae rhythms for a purely acoustic masterpiece that is “Yes!” in its entirety.