I once had a dream where I was sitting in a comparative Lit class at the
University of Michigan. And smack in the middle of my professor’s lecture, Dave
Matthews bursts into the classroom with an army of angry John Mayer zombies.
Dave yells, kill them all! Eat their brains! And the Mayers slowly chug their way
over to those frozen-in-fear. The undead then open wide and begin to chomp on
the countless minds of impressionable optimistic students who will no longer
have a brain to make decisions with, like which frat house will I drink at
I had forgotten all about this nightmare. That is, until I put on the Jason
Mraz’s (sounds like "more a**") Waiting For My Rocket to Come. Song after song,
this is the blueprint for the new genre known as "americagenerica." In fact,
if this album were any more generic, it would be wrapped in Duane Reade
packaging with an "Adult Alternative" label emblazoned on it. But how did this album
become so popular if it's as awful as I accuse? Well, ya' see, our standards
are so low after we've neglected them for so long. Really, anything will do.
Take me, for example: at this point, I'll go out with anyone.
And what makes this album even more insulting is the smug delivery, the way
Mraz spews "witty" lyrics from the mouth on his pretty face. Take this line
from "I’ll Do Anything," for example:
"Are you in mood for some dude/ are you in the mood to be subdued?/…let us
jet set/ we’ll be like the Jetsons/you can be Jane my wife/should I marry Jane
tonight." This is actually just one of the many elbow-in-your-ribs that make up
this perfect fodder for SUV’s everywhere (preferably, though, on the way to
the beach wearing an Aeropostale bathing suit).
Hey, he plays his own instruments, he writes his own songs. Isn’t there some
merit in that? Yes, one could argue these valid points. One could but one
What takes away the guilty pleasure factor in a pop album of this nature is
the level of integrity it strives for. Mraz "earnestly" yelps every word as if
these songs are the lifeblood, the essence of his existence but then upon
closer inspection, you know, you truly deep down know that he recorded these tunes
just so they can be featured prime time on the WB. That sort of trickery
doesn’t bode well with me.
And I do have to admit; I don’t know what’s going on in Mraz’s head but upon
superficial hearing (which is just about all I can take), I am left feeling
empty. This pain in my stomach can only come from a label creation taken out of
an Abercrombie catalogue (I know—my second clothing reference) or from
hunger. In this case, it’s both. I need something more or I need something less.
Mraz is somewhere in-between, a listening experience that at the end of the
record makes me feel like my brain too had been eaten by a John Mayer zombie. And
that would be bad because God knows I need it for organizing my upcoming kegger.
[PS if you still had any respect for Liz Phair, the indie goddess, even after
the last self-titled release, consider this: she opened for Jason Mraz on his
last tour. The horror. ]
COMING UP NEXT: Is the next Jewish Music Revolution being led by Dov
Rosenblatt; a review of the new Blue Fringe album.