Jason Mraz - Beautiful Mess: Live on Earth
Jason Mraz likes to milk his time on stage, the opening guitar chords of Sunshine Song seem to go on for an eternity before the song starts proper, but once it does we're treated to a lovely, upbeat song that sets the tone for what is to come. He's had had a busy year: Grammy nominations and a huge debut album alongside his touring have kept him out of trouble, and the culmination of a year's work is nicely rounded off with this live CD+DVD set.
Seamlessly moving between tracks with little in the way of filler, Mraz lets each song speak for itself. All are nice, upbeat (there's that word again!) songs which exude a summertime feeling - and if there is one criticism, it is that this album may be too late in the year to properly fit in. There are a large number of influences to Mraz's music: a heady combination of guitar-driven pop (Sunshine Song), brassy folk (I'm Yours) and reggae (Anything You Want) sounds like it shouldn't work, but the interesting combinations all seem to fit together fairly well.
The trouble is that the album as a whole tries and fails to pull itself out of a pit of blandness. There's no denying there is a talent on show and for background barbeque music coupled with a nice cold beer, Jason Mraz would be hard to beat. But with no real standout tracks, a live album isn't quite enough to win TMF's heart or soul. A shame, as the singer is right on the edge of greatness, but it's those final few steps that will be the hardest to take. Mraz makes a tempting proposition, but doesn't quite convince this time around.
The DVD is an interesting addition that adds something of a missing dimension to the CD. A number of additional tracks add value, but none are entirely essential. Taken together, they make for an ideal stocking filler for the Mraz fan in your life.