Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Jason Mraz
Waiting For My Rocket To Come

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 burst 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 tonight?

I had forgotten all about this nightmare. That is, until I put on the Jason Mraz’s (sounds like "more ass") 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.

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 shouldn’t.
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 respect for Liz Phair, even after the last self-titled release, consider this: she opened for Jason Mraz on his last tour]


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