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Before going ahead with this post, please read this first.

Title: ‘The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)’
Where to find it: ‘Waiting for My Rocket to Come’ (2002, Elektra); released as a single in March 2003
Performed by: Jason Mraz
Words by: Jason Mraz and The Matrix

First, the words:

Verse 1
I saw fireworks from the freeway and behind closed eyes I cannot make them go away
‘Cause you were born on the fourth of July, freedom ring
Now something on the surface it stings
That something on the surface, it kind of makes me nervous,
who says that you deserve this, and what kind of god would serve this?
We will cure this dirty old disease,
if you’ve got the poison, I’ve got the remedy

Prechorus
The remedy is the experience
It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that it’s serious,
which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end

Chorus
I won’t worry my life away.
I won’t worry my life away.

Verse 2
I heard two men talking on the radio in a crossfire kind of new reality show
Uncovering the ways to plan the next big attack
They were counting down the days to stab the brother in the be right back after this
The unavoidable kiss, where the minty fresh death breath is sure to outlast his catastrophe
Dance with me,
because if you’ve got the poison, I’ve got the remedy

Prechorus
The remedy is the experience
It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that it’s serious,
which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end

Chorus
I won’t worry my life away.
I won’t worry my life away.

Bridge
When I fall in love, I take my time,
there’s no need to hurry when I’m making up my mind.
You can turn off the sun, but I’m still gonna shine, and I’ll tell you why
Because…

Prechorus
The remedy is the experience
It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that it’s serious,
which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end

Chorus
I won’t worry my life away.
I won’t worry my life away.
I won’t, and I won’t, and I won’t…

Now, the analysis:

In case you somehow missed it, Jason Mraz wrote ‘The Remedy’ after hearing his good friend had been diagnosed with cancer. Heavy stuff. But this would be a really short analysis if I stopped here, right?

I’m going in a different direction. In fact, I’m going towards what I thought the song was about the first time I heard it 15 years ago. You know, when we still listened to stuff mostly on the radio. Also, for the first time, I’m also going to start from the middle of the song and work my way outwards.

I initially made the incorrect assumption what this song was about. I was so sure this song was about not hurrying love, telling the listener to be patient and love will come in its own time. I mean, come on, isn’t that what these words are saying?

When I fall in love, I take my time,
there’s no need to hurry when I’m making up my mind.

However, I do concede Mraz’s verses are pretty nonsensical, so I should have guessed the real meaning would not be something as simple as that. Okay, so the first verse mentions “we will cure this dirty old disease” and the intention “if you’ve got the poison, I’ve got the remedy”. So that fits with his friend’s cancer diagnosis. However, what is this stuff about “I saw fireworks from the freeway and behind closed eyes I cannot make them go away”, then all this discussion about a strange radio show and “The unavoidable kiss, where the minty fresh death breath is sure to outlast his catastrophe”? Huh? What?

What I latched on to first, those many years ago, was one line sung so sweetly. “I won’t worry my life away.” Notice that Mraz changes the notes and lifts the positivity in one the final few times he sings this line, carefree and happy. It’s incredible. It makes you feel good.

Sing it again. “I won’t worry my life away.” What is it about?

It’s about anxiety. Think back to what Mraz’s actual impetus to write this song was. It’s not too far of a stretch to imagine that his own anxiety and concern about his dear friend bled out into the rest of the song. The emotions you feel when you’re feeling out of control, such as hearing the horrible news that your friend has given potentially a death sentence, is sure to elicit the big A in your life. You might be the least anxious person in the world and then something horrible like this happens and you’re thrown into an emotional tailspin.

What’s interesting is that in the last few weeks, the song has shown up on the channels I listen to on SiriusXM. As a captive audience listening to it while being stuck in traffic, I’ve been paying even more attention to the lyrics. Let’s look at this line first: “I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on.” That’s another line about anxiety, yes?

The next line is curious, as it doesn’t seem to follow suit with the previous. “So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end”. While I agree with some suggestions I’ve read on the Web that say it’s about enlightenment, I think it’s more specific than that: the haters and fake friends in your life. Putting a spotlight on them, calling them to the carpet, you will find out who will stand with you in your hour of need and who will falter or completely disappear. The fakers have no substance. They know talk is cheap and are good at stroking egos but when put to task, they cower and hide because they know they cannot stand by their principles. Because they have none.

If you apply ‘haters gonna hate, fakers gonna fake’ to Mraz’s true meaning of ‘The Remedy’, it’s a reminder that while he’s anxious and concerned about his friend’s condition, he’s the kind of friend who will stick by his friend through these tough times as he undergoes treatment. You can also link “I won’t worry my life” to the bullies who embody ‘haters gonna hate, fakers gonna fake’. The more you worry, the more you shrink and kowtow to those whose sole purpose appears to be cutting you down and killing your self-esteem, the less you are living YOUR life. Don’t let them. Don’t worry your life away. Live your life for YOU. And if you’re struggling, find out how to work with your anxiety or seek professional help.

Jason Mraz has faith in you. He wants to think positively with this mantra: “You can turn off the sun, but I’m still gonna shine.

Lastly, the song, which absolutely makes no sense to what I’ve just written above. You have been warned!

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