- Record of the Year - "Grenade"
- Album of the Year
- Song of the Year - "Grenade"
- Best Pop Solo Performance - "Grenade"
- Best Pop Vocal Album
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: The Smeezingtons
I love Bruno Mars. I think he's adorable and has a voice like no one else that's out currently. Yes, he's been compared to Michael Jackson, but there is something more modern about his style, as well as R&B as opposed to pop in his voice. This CD is full of songs that are fun and relatable. It covers just about every area you'd want it to - there's something for everyone and every situation. The title was actually decided on to show a mix of simplicity in music and youth in spirit - something for the girls and the boys, as he puts it.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans was released in 2010 and reached #3 on the Billboard charts. He has received two Grammy nominations for 2012 (no, I don't understand why it's being nominated 2 years after it's release, but then again, the Grammy's haven't made much sense in quite a few years), including Album of the Year, for which he'll be competing against Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, and the favorite to sweep, Adele.
A lot of people, including myself, consider this Bruno's debut album, but he actually had an EP released earlier in the year called It's Better If You Don't Understand, of which all four tracks made it to the primary album as well. It really served as a preview for what was to come when he broke out as a star with this album instead.
The first song, "Grenade" kicks things off in possibly the darkest way the album ever reaches, and even then it's got an upbeat musical sound that keeps us dancing. It's about absolute devotion and that person just not getting it. There's anger in that sweet voice of his, which I think is a very odd way to start off an otherwise extremely happy toned album. This was the second official single, reaching #1 on the Hot 100. Here's the video that was released, which is just an intense story that depicts Mars as almost a modern hero of sorts, making it through despite the anger.
I have hit my first dis-liked song on the album, "Our First Time." The subject matter is very clear - first time making love. It's hot, sure, but I feel like there's too much of a reach for Boyz II Men / Michael Jackson here. I really thought this was an old R&B song from the 80s, and I think we've actually passed our quota and time for these ones. Let the classics live.
"Runaway Baby" comes up next, and I'm going to take this opportunity to show you a live (albeit televised) performance:
Oh but wait, there's "The Lazy Song" which I'm pretty sure no one can help but enjoy. I don't even mind the Jersey Shore references. It's still such a well-written song that you can't help but smile at. There are even two videos that were released for it, both of which I need to share, as they are equally hilarious:
Not gonna lie, the Glee performance of "Marry You" is what got me into this song. I actually have this whole scenario in my head of being a wedding performer and leading out the wedding party while singing this.. and I can't believe I just admitted that to the Internet. Yes, it's a morally horrible song, but it's adorable! Young, stupid love? Wee! Let's go!! Oh and nice use of wedding bells in the background.
"Talking To The Moon" is another one I just can't seem to go into. I get the sadness in the concept, and I love that there's a piano taking control of the music. It's very pretty, but it bores me (as does his most recent new single by the way). I'm a believer in that idea of looking to the moon and knowing that someone else is looking at the same on, and thus feeling together, but musically I don't feel this conveys it.
This next song has become one of my favorites though: "Liquor Store Blues (feat. Damien Marley)." Yes, I'm aware of how that makes me sound. This is brilliantly put together though. It's reggae without brinking on overly-annoying. There's that rock feel that I loved about Michael Franti, and freaking Damien Marley is featured on it.
"Count On Me" will now and forever be my song for my "little sister" Colleen. It's the perfect friendship song! Everything about it is so simple and endearing. The instrumentation is kept to instruments you could could probably make from things around the house, and the melody is light and airy. The lyrics are meaningful without delving too deep into metaphors. "You can count on me like 1, 2, 3, and I'll be there... and I can count on you like 4, 3, 2... 'cause that's how friends are 'sposed to be."
"The Other Side (feat. B.o.B. & Cee Lo Green)" is the final song on this album, and, quite frankly, I wish it wasn't. I don't mean that in a good way - I actually do not like this song. I love all three artists we have here, but the number as a whole feels over-produced and under-appreciated in the writing process.
- "Grenade" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Just The Way You Are" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Runaway Baby" - Spotify, YouTube
- "The Lazy Song" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Marry You" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Liquor Store Blues - feat. Damian Marley" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Count On Me" - Spotify, YouTube
Here's something that I just read that is going to bug me about this album: Mars is only credited as a writer on TWO of the tracks ("Marry You" and "Count On Me"). I really wanted him to write more of his own tracks, as I've noticed the best and most lasting artists tend to do. To balance though, he does have writing credits for the hooks he sings in "Nothin' On You" and "Billionaire." Sadly though, he had been signed to Motown at one point, but it was unsuccessful. Ugh, that's heartbreaking. Write more, stick to this style, regardless of the semi-obvious fit to that other label, and keep releasing things NOT like "It Will Rain" or whatever that crap was.
I really did love this album, and wish it had come out in 2011 so that I could have it on my year's best list (coming out tomorrow!!), but sadly, despite the weird Grammy nod a year late, it didn't. It's still an impressive CD and I could listen to these tracks over and over again. He's fun and new and something completely innovative while still creating the nostalgia I think we crave.