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Album Review

Since his 2012 trip to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Jason Mraz has been conjuring up the songs and rhythms for his sixth album, Know.

It's his first studio recording in more than four years, and Mraz obviously wants to bring good vibes to his vast audience. He says he wrote these songs to bring “inner peace” to himself and other listeners, as well as offering “a shred of hope."

What with his laid-back, beach-bum beats and his lyrics (mostly) brimming with positivity, it’s not hard to see his fans sittin’ back, sippin’ kombucha and marinatin’ in all Mraz has to offer.

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Pro-social Content

“Have It All” delivers beautiful, almost blessing-like words of affirmation: “May you have the confidence to do your best/May it take no effort in you being generous/ … May you know the meaning of the word happiness.”

Mraz wants to get away to a quiet place to spend time with a woman in “No Plans.” He says, “Could we put time in a bottle/And forget all our to dos/Pretend we checked into a chateau/In a world with no tomorrows/Just time for me and you?” Mraz misses his beloved (he married Christina Carano in 2015) in “Sleeping to Dream,” where he croons, “I hit the light, and I thought you might be here/But you were nowhere/Oh, love, you were nowhere at home.”

In “Might as Well Dance” and “Let’s See What the Night Can Do,” Mraz longs to get to know a special someone during a carefree evening. In the former, he says he wants to spend time with her "'til my heart is full.” And in “More Than Friends” and “Unlonely” Mraz looks to give his whole heart to the woman he loves. He says in the former, “I wanna tell everyone you’re taken/And take your hand until the end/ … If we’re gonna do this, then let’s do this/You can fix my broken heart if it’s all yours.” And in the latter, we hear, “I could be your one and only/I could make you unlonely.”

Mraz wonders what our collective purpose is on earth in "Love Is Still the Answer": "The question is why, why are we here?/… There’s only one answer that matters/Even if your heart has been shattered/Whatever you want, whatever you are after/Love is still the answer." And in "Making It Up," he acknowledges that life can be tough, but then adds, "Life’s alright/ ‘Cause I’m here with you tonight." Similar sentiments are heard on "Better With You" ("Yeah, life’s about the people who surround you/Love’s the only thing it all comes down to").

Despite those thoughtful questions about our existence on earth …

Objectionable Content

… Mraz still expresses uncertainty about whether we are “all from an accident,” or created for a purpose on “Love Is Still The Answer.” And in “Making It Up,” he lightly suggests that humanity has no other choice but to “make it all up” as we go along, because our purpose is often vague (“Well, I may go through this life never knowing who I am/Or why I’m here, or why I’m doing what I’m doing/ … We’re all making it up”).

Several songs include intimate allusions, such as “Might as Well Dance,” “Sleeping to Dream,” “Better With You” and “Let’s See What the Night Can Do.” In the first of those songs, Mraz sings, “We got nothing to lose/Might as well take off our pants.” And in “Better With You,” he suggests, “It’s better when I’m in your bed.”

"Unlonely" drops a stray f-bomb (“Unlonely ain’t a word, but I don’t give a f---”), while “Sleeping To Dream includes one use of "d--n."

Summary Advisory

I have to confess, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Jason Mraz. His songs are (for the most part) easy to listen to and filled with well-crafted, positive lyrics.

In a recent interview with FaceCulture, Mraz admitted that while much of what he's written brings him a sense personal fulfillment, he'd love his music to have a broader impact. He says, "You can’t have success by putting someone else down." Instead, his lyrical goal is to "serve humanity," to bring a message full of life to listeners of all ages and demographics.

For the most part, Mraz's latest takes big strides toward that big goal. His songs are lighthearted, fun and filled with positivity, with the exception of a few tracks that include a couple of profanities and some stray sensual lyrics.

Plot Summary

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Debuted at No. 9.

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August 10, 2018

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Kristin Smith

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