Jason Mraz steals a title for funny, funky CD

Kevin C. Johnson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MCT)

Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz's latest CD carries one of the most amusing titles: "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things."

Mraz nabbed the title during a trip to Scotland, where an artist friend coined the phrase.

"It was one of the most profound things I'd heard at the time, and I knew it would make a great album title," he says. "The album is funny and has a lighthearted ring to it, and it's very sing-along and danceable."

His goal with "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things" was "to make it sort of raw and acoustic. Even though it's a pretty funky album, it's still pretty stripped down. I didn't want to overproduce it. I wanted to make sure it was clear and make it an album that people could sing to each other, and I think we succeeded."

Part of that success comes with breakout the single "I'm Yours," which began as an online-only sensation after it appeared on a limited-released Mraz EP.

"That's a song about generosity, giving yourself to someone else, opening yourself to new opportunities and adventures," he says.

Mraz wrote "I'm Yours" in just 15 minutes four years ago.

"My favorite way to write a song is through improvisational exercises," he says. "It's about finding a melody and chords you love and opening your heart to it and seeing what happens to it naturally. I love that four years after the song was written, people are still embracing the song and adopting it as their own."

The CD also includes "Lucky," a collaboration with rising singer Colbie Caillat. They recorded together, rather than separately, which is more common, he says.

"I grew up watching classic music videos, where people share the microphone and earphones on one ear," Mraz says. "When you do a duet, it's got to be a real duet."

Mraz, who has been on and off the road since February, calls his show intimate and interactive.

"That's always been my goal, to not ask people to sit down and stare at us, but to sing along and shout things out and become part of the show," he says. "There's a lot of give and take. We adapt to whatever is going on."

Mraz had fans send in photos of themselves and their community for weeks before the concert, to be used as backdrop during the show.

Mraz also has a side project he's passionate about: an eco-friendly photography book, "a thousand things," documenting his worldwide travels. Graham Nash wrote the foreword.

"I wanted to show people what I like to look at, and that it's not what you would expect, hotels and behind-the-scenes things," Mraz says. "It's things around the world, architecture, animals, nature, wonderful things on this Earth I am very much at peace with."

He took the photos with a Polaroid Instant Camera.

"I wanted to choose photos that were slightly cinematic, that had a story to them," he says.




Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.


Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.


Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers Head "Underwater" in New Video (premiere)

Celebrating the first anniversary of Paper Castle, folksy poppers Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers release an uplifting new video for opening track, "Underwater".


Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.


Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.


Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.


Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.


Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.