Sunday, February 11, 2007
All that Mraz
Jack Johnson. He's overrated. I understand his style of music is laid back style, just chillin' with your friends on your stoop, or lounging around on a summer day at the cottage. But my problem with that style is that it just seems so passionless and boring. Every now and then I'll listen to him yes, and when it comes on, I'll acknowledge it. But when it comes down to it, I think he's sorely overrated.
But there's probably another reason I'm just not down with JJ. I mean, yeah I don't like his music, but there's something that drives that dislike, dare I say hate, even further. Around the time Jack Johnson came out with his big single, Flake, I had a bunch of his music and a bunch of music from a fella named Jason Mraz. The first two songs I got into from these two guys were Flake and 0% Interest. The thing is, their intro's and general chord pattern are quite similar. But when it came down to it, I liked 0% interest better. The vocals had more dynamics, there were endless lyrics, and there was passion. So from this shallow one song preview, I had made my judgment, Jason Mraz was the better artist. Luckily based on further listening, I was right. Jason Mraz was the better artist.
But here's the thing, Jack Johnson was the more advertised artist, and thus, everyone was on the Jack Johnson train. I guess it's kind of unfair of me, because really, no one ever said Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz were in the same boat and were battling it out. It wasn't say like Oasis vs. Blur, Apple vs. Microsoft, The Killers vs. The Bravery, The Aston DB9 vs. the Jaguar XK, or Pepsi vs. Coke. No, this was just some comparison I made up myself. But anyway, everyone kept raving "Have you heard of Jack Johnson?", "You gotta listen to Jack Johnson" and so on. All the while I'm saying "No, Jason Mraz is a lot better", but no one would listen because everyone was all up on Jack Johnson.
Well, again, no one would ever call listening to Jack Johnson and listening to Jason Mraz mutually exclusive, but today, I'm saying Jason Mraz is better, and I want to spend some time talking about him.
First of all - people who've kind of heard of him have to dismiss their opinions that he's just your typical pop artist. With songs like "You and I Both" and "The Remedy" being his only 2 big singles, people probably have this one-dimensional view of Mraz. The first thing I noticed about Mraz was his amazing voice coupled with his amazing ability to skat. You have to hear his Live at Java Joe's album to really appreciate this. It really shows his talent that's above and beyond your typical pop artist. Secondly, he's amazingly versatile. Yeah, he's got the hip hop ness to him, with a great ability to rap, and freestyle. Now mind you, his rap is kind of geeky white rap - but he's still good at it. It's never gonna be as good as Mos Def or Talib Kweli, but it works for him. But I've seen him live twice and I've seen him successfully pull off this white boy geek rap, good pop ballads, slow love ballads, island beat "yah man" jams, amazing skats, and yes, even country!
Either way, anybody who's passed on Jason Mraz, you should seriously give him a second chance. You have to hear his full spectrum to realize what a good artist he really is. I understand some people's beef with his cockiness, and I understand his style of music is not for everybody, but seriously don't make your judgments based on just his singles. He's got an amazing repetoire behind it. I'm going to post a Jason Mraz mix for my next Casey's Mix of the Moment, so be sure to check that out, and for info on him, be sure to check out www.jasonmraz.com and www.mrazmerized.com. Thanks for reading.