Jason Mraz — “I’m Yours”

Released: 4.15.08

Peak: #6

Worst things first. I officially lost patience for Lil Wayne’s ET-phoned-in 16-bars around the time I heard him not just biting but misquoting 50 frickin’ Cent on a remix of this very song. I doubt that Mraz, Weezy and third-party Jah Cure (who at least has the decency to sing as though he knows something is amiss) ever met–I wouldn’t be surprised if Mraz was ignorant of the whole project, or I would be surprised if Wayne remembers recording his spot. The pairing was so misguided that the remix didn’t even surface on the Mraz EP, Yours Truly: The I’m Yours Collection. In fact, the only audible evidence I can find online is from a Romanian video site. Downright Orwellian.

For years, Mraz’s annoyance factor was way out of proportion to his actual fame. On his breakthrough, “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” the kid sounded like he wanted to run through the halls of his high school and scream at the top of his lungs that he’d just heard this awesome John Mayer song. Nobody was falling for singles like “Geek in the Pink,” on which he pledged to “save you from/ Unoriginal dumdums / Who wouldn’t care if you come/ -plete him or not.” (Lit, call your lawyers.) “Mr. A-Z” (his epithet, not mine) thought himself not just a clever wordsmith but a nerd funkateer, and you wanted to tell him he’d get more play (in the sack and on the radio) if he’d just chill some.

Funny thing is, Mraz did just that, trading in his cockeyed red trucker hat for a short-brimmed fedora and dashing off a carefree acoustic ramble that spent 76 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, topping the 69-week stretch of LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live.” (During a vacation a full year after its release, our rental car radio seemed incapable of picking up another song for the length of Oahu.) Sure, that jive scat bridge sounds lifted from “Rocky Racoon,” and when he lands on “Scooch on over closer dear/ And I will nibble your ear” you want to lock him and Regina Spektor in a room together to see who makes whom puke first. But the melody is so unforced, almost childlike, it shows up the shoeless idylls of Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown as the shameless tourist traps they are.

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