Friday, October 15, 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops & Hooligans"

I gotta be honest, I was going to ignore Bruno Mars' debut album. I don't have anything against him. I've loved every single he's sung ("Just the Way You Are"), collaborated on ("Billionaire" with Travie McCoy & "Nothin' on You" with B.O.B.), co-written (many, including Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You"), and produced, but I didn't think he had the ability to construct an album that didn't have just one repetitive pop sound.

What encouraged me to try it out was the album's hilarious first single, an overly dramatic declaration of love called "Grenade," where he says lines like "I'll catch a grenade for ya / throw my hand on a blade for ya." Hyperbolic lyrics—I hope—aside, the musical production has the intensity of a Leona Lewis ballad and the mass appeal of those annoyingly catchy Jason Derulo songs.

Intrigued, I conducted a more thorough investigation and discovered an entire library of genres. On "Our First Time," he channels Robin Thicke—very well! "The Lazy Song," currently climbing the charts, sounds like it's in the same vein as comedy troupe Lonely Planet's "Lazy Sunday," except sung well and with less jokes. Then there's the incredibly catchy "Marry You," which despite its lack of respect for the sanctity of marriage, actually sounds romantic. The only straight-up duds were the rockin' "Runaway Baby" and the ballad "Talking to the Moon."

Check out the tracks that'll get everyone talking:

"Liquor Store Blues" (feat. Damian Marley)
True, having music royalty on a track doesn't hurt. But pulling off Reggae is no small feat, especially if you don't have a Rastafarian-like reputation. Bruno went the smart route though, treating the genre like it was "Blues with a side of Mary Jay" and griping about his troubles.

"Count on Me"
Here, Bruno adds a little of his culture to the mix, inserting the bongo drums and giving it that Hawaiian feel. If you love Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, you'll love this.

"The Other Side" (Feat. Cee-Lo Green and B.o.B)
It has that big-band motown feel that Cee-Lo is most associated with, and Bruno's falsetto floats perfectly through it. Fun fact: Patrick Stump of the now defunct Fall Out Boy co-wrote the song. (Note: Please ignore the fact that the lyrics sounds like he was inspired by Twilight.)

1 comment:

  1. I was also a bit wary of this guy, but i have heard some of the tracks and am quite impressed with him. And yeah, having Damian Marley on the record doesn't harm, does it!