9. Jason Mraz

In honor of me turning 30, I made mix CDs of my favorite songs from each of my 30 favorite musical artists/groups. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for this list. They’re simply my personal favorites. Coming in at number 9 is Jason Mraz.


“Yeah the Mr. A to Z, they say I’m all about the wordplay,” Mraz sings on the song “Wordplay,” a self-aware song of saccharine pop music in which Mraz explains the twists and turns of his lyrical acrobatics. Although that song didn’t make the cut for my ultimate compilation, Mraz’s lyrics have left an indelible imprint on my life. Over the past decade or so, Mraz has combined cocky, clever wordplay with introspection and sentimentality in his songs. His ability to vacillate between ice cool confidence and heart-on-his-sleeve vulnerability—plus his ability to turn a phrase—is what makes Mraz a top-10 favorite of mine.

After one listen through his 2002 album, Waiting For My Rocket to Come, I was on board the Mraz bandwagon. Songs like “Curbside Prophet” demonstrated a hip hop influence in terms of the way he put words together, but Mraz would never be confused for Eminem. He’s not a rapper, and unlike Eminem, the man can sing, too. Plus, in place of thumping bass beats, Mraz’s music included everything from acoustic guitars to a brass section to banjo. And for every happy-go-lucky track like “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” Mraz also had something like “You and I Both”, a tender-hearted love song. Over time, Mraz’s softer side would prove to be his most commercially successful avenue, but it’s his combination of moods that kept him in my rotation. Continue reading 9. Jason Mraz