There is certainly plenty of pop music centered on the down side of love and relationships gone bad. Adele and Fleetwood Mac can also tell you just how lucrative it can be. Creating an alternative with an album length dissertation on the positives is certainly a laudable goal. Jason Mraz is positively overflowing here with joy for the good times and advice on how to make it through the bad. When it works the songs can be truly compelling. However, Love Is a Four Letter Word occasionally sinks into what amounts to little more than pleasant background music.
Gentle Musical Shifts
There is some new musical territory here for Jason Mraz that is pleasing. In particular he incorporates some elements of world beat letting songs like "Living In the Moment" and "5/6" glide along on a reggae-influenced vibe. Jason Mraz has also downplayed some of the occasionally too clever and cloying wordplay of the past. These are mostly straightforward pop love songs in structure. The hit single "I Won't Give Up" is arresting in its steadfast efforts to be direct about loyalty and commitment.
Jason Mraz Is Almost Too Relaxed
Unfortunately, Jason Mraz sounds so happy and content that the songs occasionally slide away into gentle, but forgettable adult pop. It's easy to smile at the singalong of "Everything Is Sound" or let the slick pop of "The Woman I Love" play gently in the background, but their impact quickly fades. Fortunately, on a song like the album closer "The World As I See It," Jason Mraz pushes the accelerator to the floor in expressing the joy experienced in his own life overcoming any concerns about the treacliness of the string-filled arrangement. It is impossible not to smile as he sings, "The world as I see it is a remarkable place."
Top Tracks On Love Is a Four Letter Word
- "The Freedom Song"
- "I Won't Give Up"
- "93 Million Miles"
- "The World As I See It"
Gems and Forgettable Songs
There is nothing unpleasant here. If you are looking for an immaculately produced effort to slot in along with other recent adult pop efforts by Colbie Caillat and Jack Johnson, then Love Is a Four Letter Word will work perfectly. There are true gems here, but a number of these gentle songs you are likely to not want to hear more than once or twice.