Love Is a Four Letter Word (album)

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Love Is a Four Letter Word
Studio album by Jason Mraz
Released April 13, 2012 (2012-04-13)
Recorded 2009–2011
Genre Pop rock, alternative rock
Length 55:50
Label Atlantic
Producer Joe Chiccarelli, Rick Nowels
Jason Mraz chronology
Beautiful Mess: Live on Earth
(2009)
Love Is a Four Letter Word
(2012)
Yes!
(2014)
Singles from Love Is a Four Letter Word
  1. "I Won't Give Up"
    Released: January 3, 2012
  2. "93 Million Miles"
    Released: October 2012
  3. "The Woman I Love"
    Released: February 4, 2013

Love Is a Four Letter Word is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, released April 13, 2012, through Atlantic Records.[1][2] "I Won't Give Up" was released as the album's first single on January 3, 2012.

Background[edit]

In November 2009 Mraz posted on his MySpace page plans for a new album to be recorded starting in December, stating "In 2 weeks time I will enter the studio and begin recording the next album. Only a handful of songs are written and slated but the momentum of love is with me. Every day new verses get added on. The songs are coming together piece by piece. The process is unlike any of the other records before this. It's like I'm being gifted the album without having to do the work. I'm creating that in 6 months the project will be complete and then we'll hit the road again with new sounds and new musicians."[3]

In 2010 Mraz spent time in London, England, where he worked on songs for his new album with producer Martin Terefe and wrote with British singer-songwriter Dido.[4] In August 2010 Mraz had a Q&A interview with Spin magazine. In the interview, he stated the current possible titles for his fourth album are Peace Canoe or The Love Album.[5]

On December 8, 2011, Mraz told Jeff Benjamin of Billboard that the "album is finished" except for one track he was attempting to re-work as an acoustic version. He described the album as, "It's not a departure in the sound of the genre in any way, it's just different tones, different textures. Musically, I think people are going to like it. It's personal. It's melodic. And it's mellow. There's a couple of up-tempo tunes, but mostly the rhythm of the heartbeat kind of takes precedence on this record. Medium-tempo tunes; which I love. It feels more like the pace of life. At least, based on my life and what I've been doing."[6]

On January 20, 2012, during a performance streamed live from the Bing Bar at the Sundance Film Festival, Mraz told the audience that the album's title is Love Is a Four Letter Word.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (63/100)[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[8]
Boston Globe positive[9]
Entertainment Weekly B[10]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[11]
Metro UK favorable[12]
New York Times favorable[13]
The Observer 1/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[15]
Virgin Media 3/5 stars[16]
Under The Gun 7.5/10 [17]

The album received favorable reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 63, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[7] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic gave to the album 4 out of 5 stars, writing that "Mraz pushes himself into new territory, creating music that's perilously close to sounding seductive."[8] Kyle Anderson wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "he tiptoes the line between hammock-strung wisdom and twee naïveté with such goofball charisma that otherwise forgettable love-each-other-doodles become sweetly breezy anthems."[10] Matthew Horton from Virgin Media wrote that "It's all light as air, of course, and corny as hell but Mraz isn't here to kick James any statues. If you're after unchallenging whimsy with the odd sparky arrangement he'll continue to do just fine."[16] Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian complimented "his words with a variety of genres that show him to be a cracking musician."[11] She also wrote that "this is pure, undemanding pleasure: his voice has a natural affinity with elegant lounge-jazz and introspective folk-blues, as well as the delicately hewn soft rock that made his name."[11] Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone gave to the album 3 out of 5 stars, writing that "inspired, perhaps, by the massive success of his lite-reggae anthem "I'm Yours", he's added more world-music textures to his folk pop, and turned up the blissed-out vibes on the album."[15] Sandy Cohen from The Boston Globe wrote that "The songs about heartache don't detract from the optimistic vibe of this 12-song collection."[9]

Jon Caramanica from The New York Times criticized the album, writing that the album is "filled with platitudes and, eventually, psychobabble, dippy even by Mr. Mraz's standards."[13] Phil Mongredien from The Observer gave to the album only 1 star out of 5, writing that "the lyrics are alternate between the ludicrous and the banal."[14] Amy Dawson from Metro UK wrote that "Mraz's earnest, melodic guitar pop exerts mainstream appeal, but this will all be a bit earnest teen drama soundtrack for some."[12] Loh Chuan Junn from MediaCorp's xinmsn opines that "every song on this album is listenable, but when put on loop, Mraz's relentlessly upbeat and happy romanticism grows increasing annoying for even the least cynical."[18]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart behind Adeles 21 by a margin of 44 copies. It sold 17,021 copies and is Mraz' highest-charting album there.[19] Love Is a Four Letter Word debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 in the United States, becoming his highest-charting album. The album sold 102,000 copies in its first week, his best sales week to date.[20] In Canada, the album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 19,300 copies. This is Mraz' first number one debut in Canada.[21] As of April 24, 2014, the album has sold 547,755 copies in the United States. It has been certified Gold in Brazil.[22]

Singles and promotional singles[edit]

"The World As I See It" was released as the first pre-release track on September 20, 2011. The pre-release version differs slightly from the album version, with the latter featuring an additional string part.[23] Later, "I Won't Give Up" was released as the album's first official single on January 3, 2012. The song has peaked at number 8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song was initially presented as a lyric video around its January release, before another video was released in March 2012.[24]

"The Freedom Song" (March 13), "93 Million Miles" (March 27) and "Everything Is Sound" (April 10) were each released as pre-release tracks in the run up to the album's release, with each song having a lyric video on the official YouTube page.[25] Later, 93 Million Miles was released as the second official single.[26] "The Woman I Love" was released as the third official single from the album, on February 4, 2013.[26]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Freedom Song"   Luc Reynaud 3:59
2. "Living in the Moment"   Jason Mraz, Rick Nowels 3:55
3. "The Woman I Love"   Mraz, David Hodges 3:10
4. "I Won't Give Up"   Mraz, Michael Natter 4:00
5. "5/6"   Mraz, Natter 5:57
6. "Everything Is Sound"   Mraz, Tyler Phillips, Matt Hales, Mike Daly, Martin Terefe 4:45
7. "93 Million Miles"   Mraz, Natter, Daly 3:36
8. "Frank D. Fixer"   Mraz, Martin Terefe, Sacha Skarbek 4:45
9. "Who's Thinking About You Now?"   Mraz, Eric Hinojosa 4:47
10. "In Your Hands"   Mraz 4:51
11. "Be Honest" (featuring Inara George) Mraz, Natter 3:25
12. "The World as I See It"   Mraz, Rick Nowels 3:59
13. "I'm Coming Over" (hidden track; album only) Mraz, Daly 4:29
Notes
  • Additional production on "Living in the Moment" and "The World as I See It" by Rick Nowels.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Jason Mraz – vocals and acoustic guitar on all tracks, bouzouki on "Living in the Moment"
  • Matt Chamberlain – drums on all tracks except "Be Honest", percussion on "93 Million Miles" and "Be Honest"
  • Gregg Field – drums on "Be Honest"
  • Victor Indrizzo – percussion on "The Freedom Song" and "Living in the Moment"
  • Steve Aho – vibraphone on "Be Honest"
  • Justin Meldal-Johnsen – bass guitar on all tracks except "I Won't Give Up"
  • Paul Bushnell – bass guitar on "I Won't Give Up"
  • Tim Pierce – guitar on all tracks
  • Jeff Babko – keyboards on all tracks
  • Zac Rae – additional keyboards on "5/6", "Everything Is Sound" and "Frank D. Fixer"
  • Horn Section on "The Freedom Song" and "Everything Is Sound" performed by: Carlos Sosa – saxophone; Fernando Castillo – trumpet; Reggie Watkins – trombone
  • Rick Nowels – additional acoustic guitar on "Living in the Moment"
  • Mike Daly – additional acoustic guitar on "The Woman I Love", "Everything Is Sound", "93 Million Miles" and "In Your Hands"
  • Joe Chiccarelli – drum programming on "I Won't Give Up" and "The World as I See It"
  • David Davidson – string arrangements on "I Won't Give Up"
  • David Campbell – string arrangements on "5/6", "Who's Thinking About You Now?" and "The World as I See It"
  • G. Love – harmonica on "Frank D. Fixer"
  • Inara George – guest vocals on "Be Honest"
  • Background vocals on "The Freedom Song" performed by: Noel "Toca" Rivera; C.C. White
  • Background vocals on "I Won't Give Up" performed by: Noel "Toca" Rivera; Arnold McCuller; Ailee; Valerie Pinkston
  • Background vocals on "Everything Is Sound" performed by: Arnold McCuller; Ailee

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label
Germany[1] 13 April 2012 CD, digital download Atlantic Records
United Kingdom[46][47] 16 April 2012
United States[48] 17 April 2012
Taiwan[49] 17 April 2012 Warner Music Group
Poland[50] 23 April 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jason Mraz - Veröffentlichungen" (in German). Warner Music Germany. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  2. ^ http://jasonmraz.com/news/2012/love-is-a-four-letter-word/
  3. ^ "Jason Mraz Myspaces Plans". 
  4. ^ Graff, Gary (September 14, 2009). "Jason Mraz May Turn 'Tons of Material' Into Two New Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Q&A: Jason Mraz". SPIN.com. August 19, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Jason Mraz Fine-Tunes 4th Album for 2012 Release". Billboard.com. 
  7. ^ a b "Love Is a Four Letter Word Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Erlewine,, Stephen Thomas (April 17, 2012). "Love Is a Four Letter Word - Jason Mraz | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Cohen, Sandy (April 16, 2012). "Review: Jason Mraz celebrates love on 4th album". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Kyle (April 13, 2012). "Love is a Four Letter Word review - Jason Mraz Review | Music Reviews and News | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Sullivan, Caroline (April 12, 2012). "Jason Mraz: Love Is a Four-Letter Word – review | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Dawson, Amy (April 16, 2012). "Jason Mraz's Love Is A Four Letter Word has mainstream appeal". Metro UK. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (April 16, 2012). "New Albums From Train and Jason Mraz - NYTimes.com". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Mongredien, Pil (April 12, 2012). "Jason Mraz: Love Is a Four-Letter Word – review | Music | The Observer". The Observer. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Rosen, Jody (April 17, 2012). "Love Is a Four Letter Word | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Horton, Matthew (April 16, 2012). "Jason Mraz: Love is a Four Letter Word Album Review - Reviews - Music - Virgin Media". Virgin Media. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ "REVIEW:Jason Mraz: 'Love is a Four Letter Word'". Under the Gun Review. April 23, 2012. 
  18. ^ Chuan Junn, Loh (May 21, 2012). "xinmsn launches weekly music reviews". xinmsn. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  19. ^ Jones, Alan (23 April 2012). "Official Charts Analysis: Adele needs just 17k album sales for 23rd week at No.1". Music Week. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  20. ^ Caulfield, Keith (25 April 2012). "Billboard 200: Lionel Richie Holds Off Jason Mraz, Stays At No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  21. ^ http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Artists/M/Mraz_Jason/2012/04/26/19683561.html
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ ""The World As I See It" On iTunes today". JasonMraz.com. 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  24. ^ "I Won't Give Up - Single". iTunes. 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  25. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Freedom Song by Jason Mraz". ITunes. Apple Store. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "iTunes - 93 Million Miles - Single". iTunes. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". australian-charts.com/. 
  28. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". austriancharts.at/. 
  29. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". www.ultratop.be/nl/. 
  30. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". www.ultratop.be/fr/. 
  31. ^ "Archive Chart". Canadian Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". dutchcharts.nl/. 
  33. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Albums Chart. GfK. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  34. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". charts.org.nz/. 
  35. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". norwegiancharts.com/. 
  36. ^ "Archive Chart". Scottish Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  37. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word". hitparade.ch/. 
  38. ^ "Archive Chart". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  39. ^ "Archive Chart". Billboard 200. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  40. ^ "Archive Chart". Rock Albums. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  41. ^ "Archive Chart". Digital Albums. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  42. ^ http://www.dutchcharts.nl/jaaroverzichten.asp?year=2012&cat=a
  43. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Jason Mraz – Love Is a Four Letter Word" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Jason Mraz – Love Is a Four Letter Word". Music Canada. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  45. ^ "British album certifications – Jason Mraz – Love Is a Four Letter Word". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 2, 2012.  Enter Love Is a Four Letter Word in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  46. ^ Love Is A Four Letter Word: Jason Mraz: Amazon.co.uk: Music
  47. ^ Love Is a Four Letter Word by Jason Mraz - Preorder Love Is a Four Letter Word on iTunes
  48. ^ Amazon.com: Love Is A Four Letter Word: Jason Mraz: Music
  49. ^ http://www.warnermusic.com.tw: Love Is A Four Letter Word: Jason Mraz: Music
  50. ^ "Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word" (in Polish). Warnermusic.pl. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.