Jason Mraz’s ‘YES!’: Track-By-Track Review


Which songs on “YES!” are worth exclaiming
about? Check out my track-by-track review of
Jason Mraz’s latest album.
1. “Rise” – Soft, warm strings coax the listener
into turning up the volume and getting
comfortable with “YES!” Piano and a choir of
Raining Jane singers are added to the mix to set
the album’s acoustic tone.
2. “Love Someone”
The calming lead single “Love Someone” is the
summer song that you don’t blast from your car,
but instead soundtracks a night of summer
romance. The hushed ballad opens with a
reverberating sitar, and acoustic guitar strums
back Mraz’s soft love poems: “Love is a funny
thing / Whenever I give it, it comes back to me /
And it’s wonderful to be giving with my whole
heart / As my heart receives.”
3. “Hello, You Beautiful Thing”
A happy-go-lucky track and the first time we
really get to hear Raining Jane, and their spot-on
harmonies, via the call-and-response hook. The
skipping song could certainly work as a second
official single from “YES!”
4. “Long Drive”
This lush track begins with a hushed intro before
moving into its heavy percussion and sitar-
embellished production. By the 1:30 mark, the
listener has crashed into the soaring chorus, as
the melodramatic lyrics (“Your hand on my hand /
The thought of arriving / Kind of feels like dying”)
evoke memories of an all-too-important high-
school romance.
5. “Everywhere” – For a “purely-acoustic” album,
this stirring, kick drum-heavy song may be the
record’s rockiest moment. The subject matter of
being “everything in everywhere” recalls Clay
Aiken’s infamously creepy single “Invisible,” but
Mraz’s take is inherently more cute.
6. “Best Friend” – Despite lacking much of a
chorus, the relaxing cut stands out for its lovely
theme: “Yes I feel my life is better / And so is the
world we’re livin’ in / I’m thankful for the time I
spent / With my best friend.”
7. “Quiet” – True to its name, “Quiet” is a soft
song opening with echoing vocals that at first
sound like Mraz and his guitar cozied up to
laptop speakers for a single-take recording. Soon
enough, subtle piano chords, percussion and
harmonies are added to the blend. While hints of
country music’s ubiquitous steel guitar have
creeped into quick moments throughout “YES!,”
the twangy strings are given the full spotlight
here, with a banjo later added into the bridge.
8. “Out of My Hands” – A folky number with a
distinct SoCal sound. The dissonant harmonies
on the twee-heavy post-chorus could be heard on
your favorite folk-rock band’s latest record.
9. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”
The a cappella opening is another welcome sonic
shift on the album, while Mraz’s vocals shine
among a chorus of Raining Jane.
10. “3 Things” – With a rather melancholy
opening (“There are there are three things I do
when my life falls apart / Number one is cry my
eyes out”), cut No. 10 soon morphs into an
upbeat, summery track that mixes positive, self-
help slogans with strumming guitar and mandolin
on its singalong chorus.
11. “You Can Rely on Me”
Another encouraging anthem that gets a bit of
soulful flavor from touches of organ peppered
throughout the arrangement. With no gender
pronouns and ambiguity about whether he’s
singing to a lover or friend, “You Can Rely on Me”
is another universal track that could be
championed as the modern-day version of Ben E.
King’s “Stand by Me.”
12. “Back to the Earth” – Rooster crows open the
track along with Jason’s lighthearted scatting
over a ukulele, recalling his omnipresent 2008
single “I’m Yours.” In the same vein as “Quiet,”
the simple, carefree track is another ode to going
back to basics: “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.”
13. “A World With You” – With ominous steel
guitar and sparse guitar strums, “A World With
You” is Mraz’s best attempt at country balladry
without the twang and alcohol-inspired lyricism.
The romantic lines (“Let’s move to Paris and get
ourselves a loft / Let’s live in squalor and spend
all cost / Let’s throw caution to the wind and
start over again”) resonate, and the focus on
Mraz’s voice is sure to please longtime
14. “Shine” – The album’s final track is also its
most psychedelic, with heavy sitar, tribal drums,
hand-claps and folklore lyrics personifying the
sun, moon and sky. Despite its far-out sound and
subject matter, the story is actually one of the
album’s most beautiful, likely a metaphor to a
relationship where one person needs a little extra
loving, topped off by Mraz repeating the mantra “I
will shine on you.”


© manab


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