What happened to Toca Rivera

Jason Mraz


Pop - Released June 19, 2020 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

The truly versatile US songwriter Jason Mraz already pointed towards reggae in January, at the beginning of the US election year, with the campaign song "Vote Louder". The fact that an entire One Drop album is now slipping down is surprising. "Look For The Good", as the title proclaims, promotes the positive thinking of reggae. The musical design draws from the catchiest and in many places the best that Jamaica has offered over the decades. Again and again Mraz flirted with the offbeats, but now wins every battle on strange terrain in a credible and rousing way, track for track. It aims at hammocks and balconies with completely organic sounds, provides the soundtrack for the sailboat. Freed from the hustle and bustle, or as the jungle book's bear Balu would say, with calm and comfort, the acoustic guitarist steers through a lot of long pieces. You gain significantly in effect with the second hearing. To be fair, however, you have to warn: the first time you tip it through, the plate can come across irrelevant. Because, on the surface, the beautiful work seems to be 'Happy go lucky' Icelandic pop, the Inner Circle mainstream excursions of the late 90s ("Rock With You") and Big Mountain's records ("Oh Baby I Love Your Way ") to repeat. However, slowly growing, the album offers a lot more here. In addition to reggae beat patterns, core messages from the roots-rasta milieu characterize the friendly record. The pieces are explicitly pacifist (tradition since Jimmy Cliff's "Vietnam" in reggae), and in "You Do You (feat. Tiffany Haddish)", Mraz advocates equality and authenticity ("act naturally") . For this he uses a hypnotic groove and a combative ragga insert as a break in the middle of the track; this insert is provided by actress Tiffany Haddish. "Keeping the music fresh" and "together we make harmony" promises host Jason. Piano sections in "Good Old Daze" and "You Do You (feat. Tiffany Haddish)" are subtly rooted in the Caribbean jazz of Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander, ancient music, presented here 'fresh'. The songwriter takes the wind out of the sails of all purism fanatics who would fundamentally not attest to American music any credible reggae realness. As a successful trick, he brings 61-year-old Sister Carol on board. Sister Carol, a pioneer woman in the long masculine segments of roots-dub, rub-a-dub and raggamuffin, must have been missed by many older genre fans, with her peculiar voice, scratchy, hardy, at the same time elastic, carefree, with rap -Vibes and also a bit like the dubbing voice of an angry Donald Duck. Some Jamaicans are likely to be scrambling to cooperate. Jason Mraz leaves the bass-heavy role to her deep organ, her hard pronunciation, and Jason seems like the feminine part in the duet. Chatting style in the interplay with pensive harmony singing - with this hard-soft mixture "Time Out (feat. Sister Carol)" sweeps you away; an absolute recommendation, highlight of the record. Lyrically, the song argues that the 'western' lifestyle can only be endured with medication (although one implicitly means cannabis in its medicinal function). All of the other tracks also have familiar lyrical content, musically winding courses, certain tricks, thanks to which exciting things still happen in the fourth and fifth minute of the track. Numerous magnetically attractive melodies tumble out of the loudspeakers, and there is a serious discussion about the history of music. Keyboard style and atmospheric background vocals, for example in "Make Love", probably go back to the early roots with Ken Boothe and John Holt, partly to the early rock steady soul of Alton and Hortense Ellis. Lovers of some Trojan treasure chests will get their money's worth here. In "Hearing Double", Mraz MC Solaar continues the technique of word doubling ("Dieu Dieu Créa Créa L'Homme L'Homme Comme Comme MC MC"): "II love love you so much, II have to say say it it twice twice "for three minutes. For "Wise Woman" one could immediately imagine Dawn Penn as a duet partner, because her vintage rock steady reappears there, a music that is still practiced in Jamaica today at best by Keith & Tex. The reggae-gospel-soul final track "Gratitude" avoids the calculating that otherwise often makes gospel soul seem so forced and commercial. Beautiful moments! Sometimes, as in "Take The Music", what is well-intentioned is nevertheless exhausting: Jason expands what a great use music has, only here he limits himself to a solid standard that has been heard thousands of times, and that consists of high-pitched brass sections and bass lines not groove at all. One of the main flaws of the album is that it uses basslines sparingly and relies too much on treble tones. You can't blame the lovely compositions for that, but the masterings aim all too boldly so that everything sounds like the sea, islands and freedom. For example "My Kind" works almost perfectly, with great keyboards and drums, a brilliant melody, but the high-pitched vocals do not go well with it, the overly squeaky brass section irritates, the poor bass makes too little oomph. The fact that the songs, despite this imbalance, are loving to detail and warm, radiate warmth and are well connected to each other, all of that penetrates. "Look For The Good" has an encouraging, 'up-lifting', meaningful effect. © Loud