Say “yes!” to Jason Mraz’s new album “YES!”

July 14, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Jason Mraz, courtesy of Atlantic Records.
Jason Mraz, courtesy of Atlantic Records.

One exuberant “Yes!” is all it takes to get rolling in Jason Mraz’s love-steeped world.

Jason’s fifth album, “YES!,” comes out on July 15. The new release embraces acoustic soul and celebrates positivity with songs that see hope even in loss. In addition to Mraz’s coaxing tenor voice, the four women from folk-rock band Raining Jane combine traditional instruments with cajón, sitar and ukulele to create exotic nuances sure to tickle any listener’s ears.

In 14 intimately linked tracks, Mraz traverses life’s landscape with interludes through wrinkles of love, loss and moving on. Mraz’s story begins with “Rise,” a wordless air that flows into “Love Someone,” an upbeat song inspired by a stroll in his home state of Virginia. “Love Someone” was the first single released as part of the weekly “Mraz Mondays” series recorded at the singer’s California avocado ranch.

“Hello, You Beautiful Thing” and Mraz’s album favorite, “Long Drive,” are about the joys of giving love and being in love. But “YES!” doesn’t just scatter petals down a rosy aisle. Instead, it imparts living in the moment and finding peace even in darker times.

“Out Of My Hands” recognizes the deterioration of a once vibrant friendship. The heavy-hearted cover of Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” leads into a buoyant song of acceptance, “3 Things,” which bridges the record by revealing a three-step process to move from the despair of previous tracks to a newfound zeal for love.

Mraz expresses his admiration for the world we share in “Back to the Earth,” which opens with a solo by Handsome, the lead singer’s rooster. The song shows its West Coast colors as Mraz and the Janes advocate organic living immersed in tangible connections with nature and with one another.

The wishful and meandering tune, “A World With You,” gives way to the album’s concluding number, “Shine.” “Shine” is inspired by a 13th-century poem: “And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” Words of personal awakening and explosive harmonies complete the “YES!” story arc.

A simple “Yes!” can lead us into love, healing and ultimately life itself. Seek the “yes” moments that propel you to live each day fervently, and give yourself the chance to exclaim “Yes!” for “YES!”


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