Mr. A-Z - Jason Mraz
Mr. A-Z Image
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

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  • Summary: Steve Lillywhite produced this second album for the singer-songwriter.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. 80
    Mraz is an entertaining smartass. [Feb 2006, p.98]
  2. Fortunately, producer Steve Lillywhite is on hand to clean things up, giving even the most bumbling lyrical experiments, such as "Wordplay" and "Geek in the Pink," at least the illusion of a newfound maturity.
  3. What makes this glossy album more charming than cloying overall is the totally unselfconscious way he throws himself into these showy and technically stunning performances. [Aug/Sep 2005, p.111]
  4. There's an overriding sense of preciousness that permeates "Mr. A-Z," and a few instances ("O. Lover," "The Forecast") where his homages to '70s AM radio sneak over into copies.
  5. Mraz apparently has some skill, and maybe if he gives up on showing that skill off, his next record could be a respectable one.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 51
  2. Negative: 7 out of 51
  1. Jul 25, 2012
    7
    Jason Mraz seems to change from album to album. With 2002's Waiting for My Rocket to Come he came off as that fun local singer-songwriter with quirky lyrical tendencies that you hoped to catch at a small club next week. 2008's We Sing We Dance We Steal Things showed a more accessible yet also more vast & anthemic style. His most recent effort, Love Is a Four Letter Word, shows a more contemplative and insightful side that ditched the fun immaturity altogether for serious beauty and sincerity. I'm not sure which of these is his best but I can tell you that it is NOT this one. Mr. A-Z shows Jason making an interesting yet also slightly awkward stylistic transition that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Here's a brief track-by-track review of each song here. --- Life is Wonderful: Lyrics can be a little overly simplistic at times but I think that's the point of this acoustic opener: to point out a lot of little things in life to appreciate that get bigger & bigger as the song goes on. I like the way it builds instrumentally too. 8/10 --- Wordplay: This is probably the song here that's most like his debut, especially in the lyrics & vocal delivery in the verses. The lyrics can come off as obnoxiously self-aware at times but the melody's so great that I don't really care. Also this is probably the most straightforward rock track on the album, and it makes sense why this is the big single from the album. 8/10 --- Geek in the Pink: This is where the album starts to fail; this album contains some of Jason's "douchiest" tracks to date. In this song he's basically picking up a girl to have sex with her. What happened to the likable cool guy in Waiting for My Rocket to Come? Now in songs like this he's a womanizer on club-rap levels. Music's pretty catchy though, and probably the poppiest on the album. 5/10. ---- Did You Get My Message: I don't have much to say about this. The melody's forgettable and the lyrics really tend to meander in one place. 5/10 --- Mr. Curiosity: This is a nice refreshing piano piece about looking for love. Not sure if the opera singer was necessary though. 7/10 --- Clockwatching: This song is pretty good musically but it's ruined by a bunch of annoying postage & airplane metaphors for sex. I'll never lick a stamp the same way again... 5/10 --- Bella Luna: This acoustic ballad has an interesting Spanish vibe to it musically and Jason's vocals & lyrics put a nice spin on it that really fits. 7/10 --- Plane: This song also uses airplane (or rather airport) metaphors again but it's used well here to apply to being forced to leave a new lover. This is perfectly supported by some beautiful instrumentation including a piano and a string section. 8/10 --- O, Lover: This is the album's low point. It's just uncomfortably sexual. Sort of like Geek in the Pink but more graphic. 4/10 --- Please Don't Tell Her: This is a satisfyingly bitter post-breakup song that almost sounds like an 80s power ballad in the chorus. But you know, in Jason Mraz mode. 8/10 --- Forecast: More awkward sex metaphors. Yay...? 4/10 --- Song for a Friend: This is by far the most epic & ambitious song here at a staggering 8 minutes in length, complete with distorted guitar solos, self-harmonizing left & right, and multiple sections including a piano breakdown in the middle that very gradually builds back up one instrument at a time Perfect way to end the album. 8/10 --- Bonus tracks: Jason's solo acoustic guitar cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man" does a good job of not copying entirely but still stays true to the original for the most part. And in my eyes that's what makes a good cover. Burning Bridges and Prettiest Friend are okay but are pretty forgettable, and you can kinda see why they were left off of the album. Maybe with some tweaking and extra instrumentation they could've ended up on We Sing We Dance We Steal Things. --- Overall while there are some great tracks here, this is the only Jason Mraz where I can really say there are any bad songs, with I'm Yours probably being an exception. Usually the stuff I delete from my iTunes from Mraz is forgettable filler like Did You Get My Message. This is a weird time in his discography to say the least. This album really shows that Jason is best when either deep & poignant or clever & fun, and at his worst when talking about sex because it makes him come off as a total douchebag. I'd give Mr. A-Z a 69/100.

    Favorite tracks: Life is Wonderful, Wordplay, Plane, Please Don't Tell Her, Song for a Friend.
    Least favorite tracks: Geek in the Pink, Clockwatching, O Lover, Forecast.
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