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Literary Analysis of the Song: Wordplay by Mraz Jamson

Updated on July 3, 2017


Figurative language is an important literature which need to mastered and employed by creative writers and students. Figurative language refers to expressions or words that portray a different meaning other than its literal interpretation. By employing a literal language, a writer is simply presenting the facts without any alteration. The aim for exaggerations or alteration in use of figurative language is to make the writing appealing, or emphasize a particular point/message being passed across. In “Wordplay” the author has employed various elements of figurative language which has subsequently made the song appealing while emphasizing the message which is to inform his audience on his next album. The use of various forms of figurative language in Wordplay including Simile, Metaphor, personification, hyperbole, symbolism, Rhyme, and Sarcasm has effectively added to the song’s appeal, entertainment, and message which is to inform his audience of his next hit.


The author’s message is emphasized in the following lyrics

“The sophomore slouch presents a difficult battle”

Entrance into music may not be a one off success; rather, artists have to grapple with a number of challenges and obstacles in their way. In this phrase, the author emphasizes that these are normal occurrences in the music industry. The author may have used this phrase to explain why he had remained silent for a long time without releasing the next song. He uses this occasion to point out that releasing a song is not always an easy endeavor but rather, one has to find challenges along the way. This information is collaborated by the survey carried out by Right Cord Music (2013) which established that a large number of budding artists faced immense challenges before coming into the music limelight.

“Are you all ready for my debut single which is about to go”

In this lyric, the artist is telling the audience to expect a new single. After waiting for a long time, he is now assuring his audience that he is not out of the business yet but he was alive and thriving. Therefore, in this phrase, he was surprising the audience that his next song will be a hit as he is working on it thoroughly. There are many artists who would just wake up one day and come up with a song which in most cases is shoddily done. However, Mraz confirms that his next work will be careful crafted and that this was one of the reasons why it took him long to produce.

“You are waiting for a new song like a novel religion”

In this sentence, he has acknowledged the audience’s desire for a new hit particularly from him. He knows that they are eager to receive a new song from him after his first song became an instant hit. In normal cases, the audience is left agitating for a new release from an artist who has stirred them. This is also the same case with Mraz whose first song was an instant hit. According to Zaga,

“People have now considered me a one hit wonder”

He also acknowledges in this sentence that his audience appreciates his songs. Therefore, Mraz is aware of the level in which the audiences have placed him and the impact his first song had. However, he is quick to refute the perception that he is a one hit wonder. It should be considered that this perception had been held by many of his audience after he seemed to have no plan of releasing another hit.

Looking at these Lyrics, it is apparent that Jackson Mraz’s song has more than one message which he wants to pass across. One, he is informing his readers of his plan to release a new hit. Two: the artist has acknowledged the audiences appreciation of his songs and, three the author has acknowledged the challenges inherent in the music industry.

Cultural Impact

Apparently, the song by Jason Mraz aligns with a popular cultural context by relating to some of the common aspects of culture. This includes love where he says in this chorus “Ha La La La Love”. Other common words include television, wizard, and freezer. This has significantly helped to reinforce the songs popularity not only with the cultural context of the artist but also globally. This is confirmed by Sisco (2012) who notes that the Wordplay has received a worldwide attention owing to its appeal and the fact that it conforms to many cultures. According to Sisco, Mraz’s song, the “Wordplay” has a wonderful balance with covers a diversity of genres while the lyrics are quite beautiful. Furthermore, Mraz’s style is unique among many artists.

Figurative Language in the Song Wordplay

In “WordPlay”, there are a number of figurative expressions employed by the author. Among these include Simile, Metaphor, personification, hyperbole, symbolism, Rhyme, and sarcasm. This section will explain how these expression are employed in the song and their purpose.


A simile is an expression that compared one object or thing to another by using words as “like” (Murfin and Supryia 72). In this song, we identify and highlight parts of the lyrics whereby there is use of direct comparison through words such as “like”. Examples of this comparison are quite apparent. For instance, the author expresses that “you want a new song like a novel religion”, “The audience is writing me off like I am a one hit wonder” among others.


This is an expression that compared one thing with another without using words “like” (Zoltán 115). In “Wordplay” such words expressions include “The sophomore slump is an uphill battle” (line 5) – which is a metaphor indicating that a rise in at the helm of any career and particularly in music is a tough battle which need to be fiercely fought in order to achieve success. The author also wants to emphasize the challenges of being a sophomore.

c) Personification

This is an overview of the artistic representation of a non-living matter as if it was alive as used by the author of the song lyrics (Harris 7). This is also reminiscent in the song WorldPlay by this expression: the “Music is making people tongue tight”. Another form of personification in this song is presented in the expression, “The fa-la-la's ooh's and ah's fall back in love” (line 34). Another form of personification can be found in the expression “I do not understand which way the brain is following” indicating that he does not think in a particular direction.


This expression presents a highlight of an exaggerative language used by the artist for purposes of emphasis. Mraz has used a number of these expressions which include “I am the wizard of ooh's and ah's” (Mraz line 24). Though in actual sense Mraz is not a wizard, he considers himself to be one for his music category. This is an emphasis on his prowess and rising star in his career.


This involves the use of symbols to represent feelings or circumstances of a given context. For instance, the author claims that the “record label have put him on the shelves up in the freezer” Indicating how he had stagnated without moving even after releasing an album.


This involves the use of words which end with similar sounds at the end of subsequent lines as an artistic feature of music. Some of the words that end with similar sound in this song includes play and say, La, head and said, in, me and min, ion, under and onder among others.


This is the use of bitter language for purpose of mockery. This element is also apparent in the song under evaluation when for instance the author says “How prepared are you to take a dive end of my head?” (line 17) as a way of mocking his rivals whether there is one who can outwit him.

Purpose of Figurative Language in Song

As already reiterated, Mraz has employed a figurative of language for a purpose. This purpose as already noted is to enhance creativity in the song, improve its appeal to the audience and emphasize the message being passed across alongside creating rhyme for the particular melodies. A study by Emmons noted that figurative language could be found in all types of music including rock, gospel, rap, and so on (2). The study further reiterates that all types of music whether rap, gospel, pop or rock are composed using figurative language including hyperbole, personification, metaphors and similes. Emmons goes on to explain that figurative language is a critical component in both fiction and non-fiction work that is aimed at making the artistic work not only realistic but also interesting.


Looking at the structure of the lurics by Mraz, there is no doubt that the song consists of rich artistic and language elements. The analysis reveals the use of various artistic features including personification, symbolism, rhyme, use of metaphor, hyperbole, simile and sarcasm thus equating the song with a typical poem. This therefore creates a question on whether Mraz was a poet or whether he employed the services of one to create the powerful lyrics. The effectiveness in the use of these elements has been revealed by the song’s rise to popularity, its liking by the audience, emphasis of the message and its general appeal to the audience. This teaches artists one key lesson: that they should not simply produce lyrics without clear structure or organization in the name of singing. Rather, artists must organize their lyrics accordingly in order to create appeal and emphasis on the message.


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