"I have my painful moments like everyone else, but that's not the stuff I choose to share," says Jason Mraz, 31, whose latest album, "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.," includes a duet with Caillat, Lucky. "When we're happy, artists can be afraid to acknowledge what it is that makes us that way, or people will say it's cheesy. But I love that challenge. For me, music is meant for healing and inspiring."
Frankenreiter's "Pass It Around," new this week, is described in a press release as "filled with soulful melodies, uplifting grooves and some lessons for life." Laswell's "Alto Nido" has been promoted just as unabashedly as "a grand, therapeutic soundscape gained from renewal and letting go of loss."
Certainly, these artists convey their fair share of sadness, irony and even indignation. Dennen has said that his album's first single, "Make You Crazy," is "about all the injustice in the world." While on tour, Caillat has written songs "about missing home which are more melancholy and bluesy."
If they're also accessible and pretty, DeCurtis points out, those are "not by definition dirty words."
"It's easy to satirize this music, but there will always be an audience for what essentially amounts to melodies and voices that are soothing."
Contributing: Korina Lopez