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Oh, just buy it, for god’s sake! ;)
John Mayer’s “The Village Sessions” is a beautiful, fitting, acoustic live album. I’m a little disappionted that it is so short (just 6 tracks) but hey, one track outshines the other, so what more is there to ask for.
If you want a post-Continuum live album, this certainly is the one to go on.
One, Two, Three, Four…
This is the song with which John Mayer advertised for his 4th studio album “Continuum“, this live version is as beautiful and encouraging as ever, although not as rebellious, a little too smooth for my taste. (Probably Ben Harper’s involvement has something to do with that) But very clean, there are choruses in the background, I particularly like the acoustic guitar in this one. And the ending is great.
2. Belief (3:44)
Another song from “Continuum”, the acoustic guitars work very well again, this version draws even more power form the piece itself, the rhythm and the melody because the instrumentation is as sparely as possible.
3. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room (3:53)
This is probably one of my favorites form “Continuum”, though it is really hard to tell, since there are just exceptionally great songs in “Continuum”. For this song, acoustic is perfect. Since it is a kinda sad piece, the less instruments there are, the better it fits, and the solo in the middle is even more beautiful, it almost is as if he makes the guitar sing. Oh, yeah, this song definitely is my favorite form this album. You should buy it just to be able to listen to this song, seriously.
4. Good Love Is On The Way (3:24)
The first Non-Continuum song on “Village Sessions”, I first thought this was a cover, but it apparently is not. It’s from “Try!“, an album John Mayer made with Steve Jordan and Pino Palladion. It’s a little more bluesy than the previous ones. And again, nicely arranged, but it has lost power compared to the Try!-version.
5. I’m Gonna Find Another You (2:47)
What is there to say, I’ve said it all already. The tuned down, acoustciness works great with this song as well. Above all with this song it produces a certain vulnerability that really fits.
6. In Repair (5:47)
Once again: Acoustic! I love the solo, the tone of the guitar is so warm, and it really starts to rock in the end. Great!
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This picture is not actually from the 15. April 2004, but hey, it’s at Lestats too, at least.
This is probably the best live bootleg I know of a Jason Mraz show. It’s a little short but the sound quality is flawless, Jason’s voice is perfect as always and the songs are mostly live debuts and very good as well. Additionally there are some funny intermezzi, which make this album even more enjoyable to listen to.
You can get it here.
1. Intro (0:36)
A little intro with Mraz saying “I’ve been in my apartement for a long time and I’ve been singing these new songs. You never know If a song is good until you leave your apartement.”
2. Flying My Guilt Over A Quilt (4:22)
Later known as “Plane” a song about his (at that time) current girlfriend and their long distance relationship. This definitely is one of my favorite versions of “Plane”, its wonderfully clean and raw and very exciting and powerful at the same time. It’s just Mraz playing his acoustic guitar and singing, no other distracting instrumentation. I also love the variation of the tempo and volume.
3. “Your clapping totally threw me off” (0:43)
Mraz begins playing for the next song, but has to stop, because the clapping of a viewer throws him off. And Mraz jokes around a little. Very funny to listen to.
4. Warming Up (4:38)
A very relaxed, more intro-like (though too long for that) song. This is the only recording I have seen this song on, so you could say it’s a rarity. It’s also the first time Jason played this song in front of a larger (in this case about one-hundred people) audience.
5. Fine Dining (4:28)
Another first recording, and again the only recording of this song I know of, which, in my opinion, is strange, since this song is one of my favorites of all songs I know of Jason Mraz. It’s overall very mraz-like, incredibly funny lyrics, a catchy melody, gorgeous acoustic instrumentation (just the guitar again).
6. “I brought some CD’s” (1:01)
Intro to “Song For A Friend”, but in the middle of it Jason remembers, that he brought some CD’s of covers he did, which he wasn’t allowed to sell, as turned out, so he’s giving them away to the audience.
7. Song For A Friend (4:25)
A song Jason wrote for one (I don’t know if any in particular) of his male friends. Again, very clean, overall a beautiful acoustic version without any ballast.
8. What It Takes (4:34)
A version of “Life is Wonderful”, probably also my favorite version of this song (so you see, this recording is, though short, quite excellent)
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I would not say, that “We sing, we dance, we steal things” is Jason Mraz’s best album yet. It is just so hard to pick a favorite. I would say it most certainly is Jason’s cleanest album, maybe also his most varied (with many influences, from funk, jazz, R&B, folk, rap and electro), although “Mr A-Z” was quite varied already. The tracks on this album differ quite a bit from what you would hear live from Jason, much more than they did on the previous albums, perhaps it is just because his style is changing (or expanding), and I’m not quite sure how I like it. Don’t get me wrong, all the songs are great, I love this album. Like many great albums it needs some investment to really love, but the songs are steadily getting better, the more you listen to them, this is a quality that is very rare, especially concerning pop albums, so I’m glad Jason pulled it off.
1. Make It Mine (3:08)
A very clean, optimistic, upbeat song, nicely instrumented, an inspiring trumpet (?) solo (did I mention, that I love solos?). There certainly is no flaw in this song.
2. I’m Yours (4:04)
The already famous “I’m Yours” (from Jason’s live performances), the lyrics are just ingenious and so funny, the first time I heard the song live (in Lucerne) i had to laugh. This version is not as playful, as others I’ve heard, never the less a great song, extremely catchy melody, there’s very sunny, almost Jamaican feel to it. A live gem, that finally got the attention it deserved.
3. Lucky (3:10)
A smooth, harmonic duet (with Colbie Caillat) about nothing less than the perfect love. I especially like the flow of this song and it’s kind of “old” feel to it.
4. Butterfly (5:00)
An ode on sexual chemistry. Very funny lyrics again, this song just rocks, underlined with a fitting brass section, quite funky and extremely catchy. I just love those horns.
5. Live High (4:12)
I’ve heard this for the first time as a version that Jason sung walking through some French city, and absolute loved it. This version of course, is not as acoustic, not as raw, but it still is quite brilliant. An empowering refrain, cool background choruses. Overall: Strong, at times almost ecstatic and very optimistic.
6. Love for a Child (4:06)
A wonderfully melancholic track about having your parents divorce. “And they never to check to see my grades, what a fool I’d be to start complaining?”. With this song Jason once more proves how good a storyteller he is. With this song he proves once and for all, that it’s not just all about the wordplay.
7. Details in the Fabric (5:46)
It starts off a little like “Plane” (maybe it’s just because of the distorted (radio-like) voice) and becomes a guitar-heavy ballad. Sometimes it sounds like Damien Rice, or David Gray. It is somewhat too depressing a first, but I find it gets better as the song progresses.
8. Coyotes (3:38)
Just another new facet, Jason and electro-pop, certainly not my taste, but oddly enough it fits. In the end there are actually some kinds (or so it sounds to me) singing (or rather shouting) with him, which is just great, and gives this song just so much more power. (The multiple choruses in general do.) And there is also some opera singing (like in Mr. Curiosity)
9. Only Human (4:03)
“The planet’s talking about a revolution”, Jason’s hint in the direction of environmentalism, but without blaming anyone, it makes you think though. Primarily it’s just a good song, with a great chorus.
10. The Dynamo of Volition (3:37)
Definitely my favorite. Another tongue twisting wordplay.
I do not keep up with statistics
I do not sleep without a mistress
I do not eat unless it’s fixed with
Some kind of sweet like a licorice
My home is deep inside the mystics
I’m known to keep diggin’ on existence
I’m holdin’ in the heat like a fish stick
And my phone it beeps because I missed it
Just ingenious because of the mad and sometime unexpected rhyming, (this is modern poetry).
11. If It Kills Me (4:34)
I’m never quite sure whether this piano ballad (highlighted with strings) is optimistic (I find it is at most times) or melancholic - I suppose it’s a little of both. But I certainly like it.
12. Beautiful Mess (5:36)
A beautiful ballad, a little like “Please Don’t Tell Her”. Jason’s flawless voice turns this song into a masterpiece.
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Dr. Horrible’s Arch Nemesis “Captain Hammer” (played by Nathan Fillion) is stealing Penny’s (Dr. Horrible’s true love) heart and Dr. Horrible slowly shifts to the evil side, he’s already on. His atempts do denounce Captain Hammer and win back Penny fail horribly, so he then decides to kill Captain Hammer, ho have him out of he picture, and to finally become a member of the evil league.
In this episode, we get to know a little bit more about Captain Hammer, wo really seems to be all about his strength (and nothing else, apparently). Dr. Horribles fall into evilness continues (can he still be saved?) and with his freze-ray complete he now posesses a weapon worthy of a superhero.
The final part will air on the 19. July.
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Yesterday the first part of Joss Whedon’s (Creator of the unreached Firefly and the Buffy- and Angel Series) “Dr. Horrible” came out, and is viewable for free until the 21. July on the Dr. Horrible Website.
It tells the story of the social-incapable, evil genious “Dr. Horrible” trying to talk to the woman of his dreams (Penny, who he sees every Wednesday and Saturday in the laundry house) and become a member of the evil league, headed by “Bad Horse”.
It’s funny, at times totally hilarious, greatly scripted and just well done. Allthough some may think it is over-hyped, I think it’s not, its just a extraordinary piece of (what schould I called it?) film, that get’s the recognition it deserves.
The next part will go on air tomorrow.