Jason Mraz: A Beautiful Mess

April 14, 2009 at 08:41 6 comments

My inaugural Jason Mraz song was ‘You & I Both’. I heard it a good many years ago, downloaded a version for my car, and slowly memorized the lyrics.

Some time later, I heard ‘I’m Yours’ on the radio and it quickly became one of those songs that never fail to cheer me up. Such a sweetie of a song. One day, I checked out a YouTube video.

After that, I was irrevocably hooked on Jason.

You see, many artistes sound good from the recording studio, but become cringe-worthy during live performances, either because their voices derail or because they need to rely on gimmicks. I cannot stand singers who need 6-foot headdresses and giant birdcages in order to put up a show. A show. Hah. It stops being about the songs.

Gimme Jason who can wow in T-shirt and jeans and with his old guitar.

I like how his voice is clear and tight on pitch, and how he works the guitar with casual magic. I love his songs with their winding poetry of lyrics, and how he shines during live performances. It doesn’t hurt that he’s cute and funny, which brings back some teen-worthy thrills and giggles <hee hee>. I thought he was just a kid, but it turns out he’s actually older than me <hee hee hee>. 

I went to his concert on 5th March 2009 and was completely wowed. What I want to highlight today is this song, ‘A Beautiful Mess’. It was on his latest CD, ‘We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.’, which I of course bought, but somehow this song escaped my attention until I really heard it for the first time at that concert.

The earth swayed and the stars slow-danced.

Here it is, courtesy of YouTube. Not the Singapore version, but that really hardly matters. This is from a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2008, so he looks much spiffier than usual, but still totally yummy. Look at those big sleepy eyes and that crooked mouth. I love the way he ended the song by opening his eyes.

My favourite part is the very end, where it goes:

“And what a beautiful mess this is

It’s like taking a guess when the only answer is yes;

And through timeless words and priceless pictures

We’ll fly like birds not of this earth,

And tides may turn and hearts disfigure

But that’s no concern when we’re wounded together,

And we tore our dresses and we stained our shirts

But it’s nice today…

Oh, the wait was so worth it”

There are little variations in the lyrics – for example, he usually sings “tides they turn”, but not in this clip. I’ve noticed that this song is quite often paired with ‘If It Kills Me’, as if it’s telling Part Two of the story. I wonder if JM is writing about something that happened in real life, or if the story is hypothetical. Or allegorical.

From the first, I’ve never seen this song as just about a BGR. When I hear the words “We’ll fly like birds not of this earth” and “We tore our dresses and we stained our shirts, but it’s nice today”, they make my eyes prickle. It sounds like the first moment of reaching Heaven and realizing it. After the battle through life beside someone you love, comes the time to shed the old life like tattered clothes, for the sake of this moment, together, right here and now.

Would God be offended if, upon my reaching Heaven, the song playing in my head was not a hymn, but this? I’d like to think He wouldn’t mind.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. traa  |  April 14, 2009 at 17:52

    Jason Mraz, one of my favorite artists :)

    Reply
    • 2. Katie  |  April 14, 2009 at 18:05

      Hi traa, isn’t he fantastic? You have good taste. :)

      Reply
  • 3. traa  |  April 21, 2009 at 17:07

    He has so many happy songs, that’s why I like him. And the song Lucky describes so well my relationship with my boyfriend. “Lucky I’m in love with my best friend
    Lucky to have been where I have been
    Lucky to be coming home again” Cliché right? :P A few days ago I heard my boyfriend sing I’m yours. Apparently he was in a good mood, because he never sings in front of anyone else but me :-)

    Reply
    • 4. Katie  |  April 22, 2009 at 12:02

      I am equally cliched because I felt moved by Lucky for the same reason! Heh. I married my boyfriend from junior college after about seven years together. Ordinarily he would never sing in front of anyone else either, but he threw all caution to the winds and belted out Firehouse’s Love Of A Lifetime while wielding an electric guitar at our wedding. Sober. And in church. :)

      Reply
  • 5. Traa  |  April 23, 2009 at 21:08

    Me and my boyfriend have been together for about 5 and a half years now, we were 15 years old when we first started going out, so pretty early, but we are still best friends and still in love. We aren’t married yet, but we talk a bit about getting married in Rome, when that time comes. He is very interested in Roman history.

    I guess you were suprised when he sang at your wedding, romantic! Did you have a large wedding?

    Reply
    • 6. Katie  |  April 24, 2009 at 16:33

      That is a beautiful idea. ‘Getting married in Rome’ sounds like a line from a dreamy poem – I hope your dream comes true!

      Our stories are a bit similar. I met my husband when we were both 16, but started going out a year or two later. I cannot pinpoint the exact date that we went from ‘just friends’ to ‘together’; what would you call those semi-innocent trips to the library? :)

      In Singapore we have a church wedding if Christian (about 250 guests, I think), followed by a Chinese dinner (nearly 400 guests, scary) without which traditional relatives will not consider you married. I suppose the song was romantic, but the funny side loomed largest at the time. He is a sweet guy. :)

      Reply

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Welcome to my blog!


My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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