There’s something about Mraz that’s a little bit over the top. I kinda expect to be razzed by friendly folk when I admit that I like the dude (oh wait, RJO did joke about my “corn-fed farmboy” fixation way back when).
I bought a tape — yes, a TAPE — of his album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come back in college, primarily for the songs “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” and “I’ll Do Anything.” I liked the beat. I pretty much liked him either singing very, very fast, or quite relaxed (a la “Sleep All Day”).
Didn’t buy his second album, Mr. A-Z, primarily because my brother had the bootleg version (this was the period when my friends and I were haunting Quiapo’s Diagon Alley, so could hardly blame him). All I really liked in it were “Clockwatching,” “Wordplay” and “Geek In The Pink” (that video with the pink OTAKU shirt kinda won me over), so didn’t feel a burning urge to buy.
I guess I should say I also like his contribution, a mashup with Chrissie Hynde (“The Joker/Everything I Own”), to the Happy Feet OST, which I bought for sheer cuteness.
Bought his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., because I fell in love — along with a ton of people — to “I’m Yours.” Plus buying the album got a secret link to a bonus vid of his hobo backpacking (now available on YouTube, as everything tends to be).
His latest album, Love Is a Four Letter Word, I haven’t really listened to, probably because the first single, “I Won’t Give Up,” was a tad too dramatic for me. Breakup blues turned into an anthem that rode on an American patriotism video. (The live version of the song “I’m Coming Over” kinda makes me wanna give the album a listen now though.)
But like I said, the guy’s a bit over the top. Very ‘fess-all (from being bullied to prematurely ejaculating, worthy subjects both), walking the line between happy-go-lucky and hippie-dippy. His guitar has a LOVE sticker on it. Not exactly a bad message altogether. Guy preaches positivity, and borrowing from Costello, what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?
He doesn’t try to be cool. He goes out of his way to admit embarrassing or humiliating things about himself, which is kinda cool.
He’s a very likeable dude, even if he wears his heart perpetually on his sleeve and harps on the human condition. He can sing his lungs out. He can yodel too. And he can scat — that’s the word I was looking for — with the best of ’em, hardly coming up for air.
So it was an easy decision for me to join my mates (and die-hard fan Angel) to watch his concert.
One gets the impression that he’s best at being a street musician or an intimate venue performer than catering to an overfilled Smart Araneta Coliseum, but Mraz and his super crew (horn section, violin/mandolin girl, bassist, drummer, percussionist with sass, keyboardist, accordion player) do bring out all the stops. And we were very much entertained.
You gotta admire the guy for having such energy, such earnest conviction, and for moving an entire coliseum to — in his words — “sing [along] like angels.” Never mind the weird graphics as stage backdrop.
We screamed. We swayed. We did (strange? mildly embarrassing?) things. It was frickin’ awesome 🙂