Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox (2012) Review

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Bruno had a lot to live up to after the huge mainstream success of his debut, but instead of slipping into the dreaded 2nd album syndrome, he hit back with another no.1 album and a string of hits under his belt.

Mars’s ability to delve into other styles shows what a rounded artists he is, Rock, Rnb & Pop are the main players, and he dips between them with ease. Due to more artistic freedom from his record label, the lyrical and musical themes are expanded; Mars stated that this album is ‘more of him and what he stands for’, and as a result we’re given darker themes of sex and drugs in songs like ‘Gorilla’ and ‘Money Make Her Smile’.

I’m a sucker for a pop melody, and this album certainly ticks that box for me. Tracks such as ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ are in my opinion, melodic perfection; so good in fact, that he could get away with singing about anything and I wouldn’t care. For me though, contrary to popular critics, he delivers on a lyrical level too; I especially like ‘When I Was Your Man’ for this – a simple & universal theme about love and heartbreak that leaves your heart wrenching, with the musical chops to back it up.

Mars’s live performances are off the scale, and I prefer them over the studio recordings a lot of the time. I’d much rather this than the other way round (a good album but a shoddy live performance). He tends to switch up the arrangements, which I really like, so much so that when I listen back to the record I miss that live magic. ‘Treasure’ is one that sticks out for me; it sounds great on the record, but when played live it seems to groove better.

When I stick on an album, I like to be taken on a journey. The vast amount of styles featured in ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ doesn’t allow this in my opinion; and although the tracks are all great, I feel that as a collection they don’t fit together as well as they could. That being said, this album is a brilliant listen with some real pop masterpieces. The Hawaiian megastar seems unstoppable at the moment. Since, he’s gone on to release smash hit ‘Uptown Funk’ and incredible new album ’24k Magic’, surely making his mark as one of Pop’s greatest solo artists.

Favourite Song – Locked Out of Heaven

Hidden Gem – Moonshine

Rating – 7.5/10

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Signed copy, owned on CD.