I was a huge fan of the forever-adorable Bruno Mars’ 2010 album Doo-Wops & Hooligans when it first came out, so naturally I was eagerly anticipating the release of his 2012 album Unorthodox Jukebox. Mars has always been a very harmless singer and brings his happy, upbeat music packed with lyrics about love, friendship and funny songs about lazy monkeys.
It took a good few listens to each song before I could make any true judgement on this album, which is strange for me as I can normally tell pretty quickly how much I am going to like a song. First thing I noticed, and many other people have noticed, is the quite dramatic change in his style, not just musically but lyrically as well. It became apparent quite quickly that his days of you can count on me and I’d do anything for you were behind him and lyrics such as you’s a dirty little lover and we be banging like gorillas were his way of telling his fans that he indeed was growing up and that he had a bit more of an edge (that’s how I interpreted it anyway).
Music-wise, it sounds slightly confusing. His former album stuck to having a guitar as the main instrument and, whilst some would say they were much simpler songs, it gave it a bit more direction in terms of a ‘sound’. I know of course the title suggests that it will be like a jukebox of variety, but there really isn’t much of a status quo in the album. Songs like Gorilla and Money Make Her Smile sound massively produced, whilst other songs like Old & Crazy have a completely different feel! I had to keep checking I was listening to the same album at one point!
My favourite song from the album is When I Was Your Man as it really is a beautiful song. Just him and a piano with deep and meaningful is very reminiscent of the former album, and (especially as I’m a sucked for sweet love songs) I really do like it. I may have been a tad harsh upon reflection on this album, but I suppose it was just so different to the Bruno Mars a lot of his fans know and love, and artists change their sound and style all the time.
I do think that he has put a lot of effort into this album, but I just do think he’s lost some direction and whilst trying to sound more mature and that he’s changed, he may have gone too far. I will be listening to Unorthodox Jukebox sometimes, especially as they play Locked Out of Heaven in almost every shop and radio station at the moment, however given the choice, I’ll stick on some old bangers like Lazy Song, Grenade and of course Just The Way You Are.
What do you think of his album? Moving in the right direction or wishing he hadn’t changed?