Bruno Mars was one of the biggest new artists following the release of his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans in 2010. The album sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK and scored three number one singles; Just The Way You Are, Grenade and The Lazy Song. Since then Bruno has been touring and writing and recording his follow-up album.Unorthodox Jukebox is the end result and it’s already shot to number one in the UK following the success of lead single Locked Out Of Heaven.
Unorthodox Jukebox was always going to have a tough time trying to match Doo-Wops & Hooligans and unfortunately it falls slightly short. Whereas Mars’ first album was packed with instant hits and obvious singles,Unorthodox Jukebox isn’t. The Police-esque lead single Locked Out Of Heaven is the most obvious single here, which would explain why it led the project, but across the album nothing else screams out as a potential hit.
The album opens with the unfortunately named Young Girls (seriously we’d stay away from titles like that in the current climate) and sets a low-key tone for the record. The tempo rarely rises above mid and the uptempo gems that littered Mars’ debut are nowhere to be seen here. Treasure is the only real uptempo number mixing slinky 70s beats with Mars’ distinctive vocal.
Show Me is a sun-drenched mid-tempo reggae-influenced track that is a little different for Mars, When I Was Your Man is a heart-on-your-sleeve piano ballad and Moonshine enlists Mark Ronson for an 80s sounding cut. The best track on the record is the slow-building Gorilla as it showcases Mars’ vocals the best and the beat is infectious. We wouldn’t say it came anywhere close to Grenade though.
We love Bruno Mars and whilst the quality of the music is high there’s something missing for us on Unorthodox Jukebox. We don’t want to listen to an entire album of ballads and the personality that shone through on Doo-Wops & Hooligans is oddly missing here. We’re sure the album is a grower but after living with it for a couple of weeks our opinion hasn’t passed the average mark.