His last name (pronounced mer-az) might prove a little tough to pronounce in the beginning—but no matter—the first set of major-label songs from Jason Mraz clearly conveys a catchy brand

His last name (pronounced mer-az) might prove a little tough to pronounce in the beginning—but no matter—the first set of major-label songs from Jason Mraz clearly conveys a catchy brand of whimsical, guitar-driven pop. Thankfully taking some risks on a first big time out, the San Diego-based artist strings together accessible, but happily unexpected lyrics on such standout tunes as the peppy "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)." He does often choose the straight pop line over the funky, possibly more refreshing, country vibe heard on cuts like "Curbside Prophet." But twisting the familiar boy-wants-girl theme on "Remedy" with words like ". . . the comedy is that it's serious; the tragedy is how you're going to spend the rest of your nights with the lights on," Mraz should fit in fine with the folks currently mining the romantic rock category, like producer John Alagia's other subjects: Dave Matthews and John Mayer.—SA

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