Before becoming his own pop phenomenon, Bruno Mars was the creative hand behind some of 2010 greatest and most popular hits like Flo Rida’s “You Spin Me Right Round” and B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You.” He also produced with Maroon 5’s front-man, Adam Levine. By the fall of that year, the Hawaiian-native was standing tall on the Billboard charts with his very own and most memorable single “Just the Way Your Are.” Mars’ full-length debut, “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” became another pop album that inevitably escaped neither radio waves nor the charts. In between cocaine charges, a Grammy award, and endless collaborations his second album released in December is still on top of the charts and nowhere from being considered a sophomore slump.
“Unorthodox Jukebox” is far from the lovely mainstream pop Mars creates. He unleashes his inner bad boy that’s hidden beneath his baby face, Elvis impersonating, fedora wearing-self.The once Motown artist has taken this opportunity to release an album without boundaries and to freely express himself even if it’s far more risqué than his fans expected.
Beginning with “Young Girls” the album immediately introduces the theme of him falling for the inevitable and promiscuous charm girls carry. With a mid-tempo throughout the track, it is a great enjoyable track and sets the tone for the album. The second track and the first single off the album, “Locked Out of Heaven,” which is clearly about, well…good sex. Yet, the song itself is a good combination of funk and new wave mixed with a progressive groove and a dash of rock and roll. The vocals are clear, as always, and because of it’s very catchy rhythm, simple lyrics, and very reminiscent of The Police’s “Roxanne” and “Message in a Bottle,” the single had major success with over three months on the charts since its release. “Gorilla” is a rock anthem, again about sex, that at first might not be as appealing for a listener because of it’s staggering keyboard riffs and drums but lyrically, the “you and me, baby, making love like gorillas!” will be on repeat in your mind. As any other pop album, there’s always a ballad. In his second effort, Mars and his team of songwriters created an undying sincere ballad full of devotion in “When I was Your Man.” Mars sings about the one that got away and the one he regrets not treating the way her new man is now treating her. The piano ballad, which is the second single off the album, is another well-written hit, musically and lyrically that his fans will enjoy. Kissing off the album Mars’ sings “I wouldn’t have done all the things that I have done, if I knew one day you’d come,” in “If I Knew.” The last song of the album is a bittersweet song of regret.
Overall, the album is what is expected from Mars but in a different more mature yet provocative manner. Clearly, Mars is capable of being a mainstream top charting king, however, this time around, Unorthodox Jukebox seem a little more mature for his intended audience. Then again, with a mix of R&B;, pop, and bad boy fixation lyrics, his music appeals to almost everyone. In just 34 minutes, the album breezes by with pop hit after pop hit, something Mars is expected to do multiple times to come.