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Track Review

In our age of detached irony, smug cynicism and bawdy, naughty excess, it's refreshing to encounter a song like "I Won't Give Up."

This hit from Jason Mraz's fourth studio album majors in sweet dedication, as its title implies. No winking double entendres here. No self-centered narcissism. No vapid shout-outs to empty lifestyles. Just a promise to be there, no matter what. Period.

"I won't give up on us," the chorus insists, "Even if the skies get rough/I'm giving you all my love/I'm still looking up."

The song also reflects thoughtfully on the tension between romance and reality. The face of a man's beloved captivates his heart ("When I look into your eyes/It's like watching the night sky/Or a beautiful sunrise"), but he wisely realizes that even people who love each other sometimes need alone time to sort through perplexing issues ("And when you're needing your space/To do some navigating/I'll be here patiently waiting/To see what you find").

Mraz acknowledges that mistakes are inevitable, but that they needn't drive a wedge between two people who are committed to making things work: "I won't give up on us (No, I'm not giving up)/God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)/We've got a lot to learn (We're alive, we're loved)/God knows we're worth it."

Throughout, Mraz gets at the wonder of mature affection: love that's enchanted but grounded, full of zeal but devoid of insecurity. In all that, he's delivered a kind of love song that, frankly, we don't hear too often these days. Very nice stuff indeed.

And I'm not the only one who feels that way. With essentially zero radio play or record label promotion, the song caught fire online after Mraz posted a simple lyric video to his YouTube channel and website. It garnered 2.5 million views its first week and generated sales of 229,000 units, sending "I Won't Give Up" to the top of Billboard's first Digital Songs chart of 2012 and into the Top 10 of the music magazine's flagship Hot 100 chart as well.

That's not a bad way to begin a year. Not a bad way at all.

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