Helen Zhao

Jason Mraz @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheater – 9/29/2012

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I’ve been belting Jason Mraz ballads for a long time. They always seem to roll right off the tip of your tongue—easily accessible when you feel like singing. When singing, words come out in melody as lines of poetry—a rare occasion when actively expressing oneself (oftentimes in the privacy of one’s home or vehicle) to no one in particular (and frankly most of us like to keep it that way). It’s the soul in harmony with itself and in kinship with the outer world. That’s why it seems so intuitive to sing a song by Jason Mraz.

And what more perfect concert to attend than a Jason Mraz concert? Concerts facilitate an escape from the schedules and pressures of daily living—when rhythms and intricate beats replace the ticking clock. Your soul reaches beyond its usual confines—in this case multiplied by the thousands of others at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater on September 29—whose souls sang to the same tune.

Jason Mraz encapsulates what it is to sing—an act without special effects or gimmicks,  a celebration of life in its simplest form sans the endless distractions and insatiable desires. It’s just him and his voice—so much more clear and resonant in its live form, and somehow flatted in its digital adaptation.

They say that he’s too happy all the time and it makes his music one-dimensional—fluffy.

But Mraz recently confessed to the Associated Press that manifesting these joyous tunes requires getting the more somber ones out of the way first. “I have to get a lot of out me first before I can get to that place … where I can choose to celebrate life,” he said. “It’s those celebrating songs that end up on the album.”

It’s clear that this contrast exists, that he’s not just full of air. That with light comes darkness, and that inner peace and unity develop out of inner turmoil and isolation, as heard in “Living in the Moment.”

“I can’t walk through life facing backwards/ I have tried I tried more than once to just make sure/ And I was denied the future I’d been searching for/ I spun around and hurt no more/ By living in the moment/ Living my life/ Easy and breezy/ With peace in my mind/ I got peace in my heart/ Got peace in my soul/ Wherever I’m going, I’m already home.”

Living in the moment may sound “easy and breezy,” but according to Mraz, it requires its fair share of twists and turns along the way—a truth he acknowledges as ingrained from the get go in “93 Million Miles,” as told to him by his father.

“Son sometimes it may seem dark, but the absence of the light is a necessary part.”

Mraz acknowledges the full breadth of human experience, though he may not dwell upon its darker spectrum—often blunting its edge with charming wordplay. It’s this lack of false pretenses that lends to an appreciation for people and nature in all of their facets and expressed in “Woman I Love.”

“I’m not trying to change you/ You’ve got it under control/ You wake up each day different/ Another reason for me to keep holdin’ on/ I’m not attached to any way you’re showing up/ I’m just gonna love you like the woman I love.”

Nobody and nothing is constant or perfect. The world is flawed, random, and chaotic, and he accepts this instead of forcing it to bend to his will. He lets go and let’s loose—a state of being that lent to his smash hit, “I’m Yours”—to which the entire crowd stood up and sang along. Not that you don’t already know it or anything, but I’ll throw some of the lyrics in here for good measure.

“I’ve been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror/ And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer/ But my breath fogged up the glass/ And so I drew a new face and I laughed/ I guess what I’ll be saying is there ain’t no better reason/ To rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons.”

The song celebrates letting go and being silly—the child in all of us. We’re human and we do weird things. It’s an attitude of simplicity with immense implications—a heightened view of the world as a whole, as expressed in “The World as I see it.”

“The world as I see it, is a remarkable place/ A beautiful house in a forest, of stars in outer space/ From a birds eye view, I can see it has a well-rounded personality/ From a birds eye view, I can see we are family.”

He expresses a deep spiritual connection with the globe and all its elements—which is also tied to a love of the earth and the organic material from which we live and grow. He’s an environmentalist and an advocate of a simpler, slower pace of life—paying homage to a granddad and role model who could fix things with his own hands and grew his own food.

“Well I wish I was a farmer/ I would grow you a Garden of Eden/ And I would bless our family with the gifts that granddad handed me/ How wonderful that would be/ Baby I’ll make that guy be me.”

He gives you the sense that he’s there for you. There for the earth. With the music of Jason Mraz is where you feel at home.

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