Jason Mraz – Look for the Good
For almost two decades, Grammy Award-winning artist Jason Mraz has been unanimously known for making feel-good music. With influences ranging from Brazilian music to reggae and jazz, his rhythmic tracks don’t necessarily sit inside a single box, but share one universal goal: to spread positivity. This signature sound returns in Mraz’s seventh studio album, Look For the Good, and it’s never been more amplified, ditching ballads in favour of his most cohesive and upbeat collection of songs to date.
Musically, it’s a throwback to the singer’s much earlier style, but his career-long love for reggae has evolved to form the backbone of the entire record. This is evident from its sunny, accented off-beat from the get-go, flowing almost continuously in structure, tone and tempo. Lyrically, the themes couldn’t be more apparent: unity, peace, nature, equality, to name a few. Clichés like “make love not war” are interlaced with metaphors and a play-by-play narrative that rolls off the tongue like an open journal entry. The brazen approach might be too sickly sweet for some, but it’s unapologetically optimistic.
In the titular opening track, Mraz croons about finding heroes in his neighbourhood – something that will surely resonate now – and stylistically sets a very strong signal of things to come. Take the Music features the likes of a brass band, gospel-style electronic organ and scatting that will sound all too familiar by track 12. It’s this triumphant instrumentation and overall production that can be envisioned spreading joy in live concerts worldwide someday; even Mraz’s vocals take a backseat for it. Other pleasantries include earth-rooted Wise Woman, inspired by Mraz’s family farm, and You Do You, a collaboration with actress Tiffany Haddish, who raps the powerfully timely lines “we gonna march until our voices get heard”.
Just as it approaches sounding too repetitious, Mraz experiments with quirky ideas in songs like Hearing Double and DJ FM AM JJason. Most tracks journey over five minutes, moving from a slow intro into full reggae swing, then including a breakout section where the singer lets loose on tracks with his signature tongue-in-cheek fast wordplay. It’s these moments where the album comes alive most. Concluding with a seven-minute letter of Gratitude, Look for the Good is an easy-rolling album of reggae mixed with funk and gospel influences… all wrapped up in Mraz’s trademark smooth vocals. It’s hardly subtle, and the former risk-taker’s latest risk lies in committing to a singular sound – but it’s impossible not to crack a smile as you listen to the gently sung messages of hope we probably need to hear and listen to right now.
Look for the Good is released on 19th June 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Jason Mraz’s website here.
Watch the video for You Do You here: