Hawaiian singer Bruno Mars exploded onto the music scene first through collaborations then with his debut album Doo Wops & Hooligans in 2010. With smash singles like “Just The Way You Are” and “Grenade,” Mars, who’s real name is
Peter Gene Hernández, was quickly making his way to the top of the charts. Now with the release of his second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, it looks like history may repeat itself.
The lead single “Locked out of Heaven” brings a lot of funk and soul to the table, a great nostalgia track. I remember the first time I heard this song it immediately stuck in my head. This is one of those great songs that works its way into your brain and you welcome it. I heard on a radio interview with Bruno Mars that part of the reason the track is so great is because it organically happened. They (I assume him and his band) were jamming in the studio, just having fun and the outcome was “Locked out of Heaven.” Funky bass line, fantastic harmonies and a quirky beat, this track has such a fun and energetic vibe to it.
With an intro that makes no sense, “Treasure” has to be good in order to keep your attention, and it delivers. This song brings to mind the disco era at the first listen, very reminiscent of a Donna Summer or an early Michael Jackson track. A fun and sexy song that would fit perfectly in a nightclub.
Although the album has a heavy ‘old school’ sound, make no mistake that Bruno Mars is able to master today’s popular sound as well. “Natalie” is a perfect example of Mars taking on modern R&B. If Taylor Swift is the scorned lover songwriter for the females, I think Bruno Mars just took the title for the men. With lyrics like “Natalie, she’s probably out there thinking it’s funny. Telling everyone I’m diggin’ a ditch for this gold diggin’ bitch. Watch out she’s quick” you hear the regret and heartbreak in his voice.
Of course his album wouldn’t be complete without a ballad. His first single in 2010 was the beautiful love ballad “Just The Way You Are” put him on the map, and now “When I Was Your Man” will keep all eyes on him. This soft, piano-laced song tells a story about Mars’ regrets and nativity in a relationship. “…Too young, too dumb to realize that I should have bought you flowers and held your hand. Should have gave you all my hours when I had the chance.” The tender lament over a lost love shows Mars’ versatility as both a songwriter and musician.
One of a musician’s biggest hurdles in his or her career is the fear of a sophomore slump. This is clearly not the case for this young musician. Bruno Mars knocked it out the park with this fun, hip and versatile album that mixes the old and the new to make a sound that is entertaining for an audience of any age.
Written by: Katie Sperduti