I'm....a bit on the fence with the latest release from Mr. A-Z himself. Jason Mraz has always erred on the side of the quirky, left-of-center as an aesthetic. For me, it's always left itself open for mixed responses.
No one faults the man for his generally positive outlook on even those aspects of life that leave one feeling vulnerable or helpless. However, in doing so, he can sometimes crawl over into being a little chintzy, as in much of the work on Mystical Magical Rhythmical Radical Ride.
Take track “I Feel Like Dancing,” for example. What attempts to be a moment of levity ultimately sounds like a disco song that would’ve been on an episode of Sesame Street. The voice acting is cartoonish and juvenile in a way that’s both jarring and not really great to hear. Barring that aspect of the album as a whole, it’s a fun LP with some moments that make it an entertaining listen. Some of the songs are truly magical (“Disco Sun,” “Pancakes & Butter”), but by and large the album feels a bit campy. Not necessarily in a negative way. It’s fun, lighthearted, some earnest moments of tenderness. However, as with much of Mraz’s work, and as he himself has mentioned, it’s all about the wordplay. Everything else is about how he can tell an entertaining story in an entertaining way.
Seems part in parcel to being a musician, right? But Mraz takes on the task in less of a “getting the message out to the people in a way they can digest it” and more, “Did you have fun? Well, that’s all that matters.” In some cases, it’s commendable, especially when considering his pen. In others it leaves the music a bit...meh.