December 5th, 2012
Bruno Mars is set to release his sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox on December 11th, but the record is ready to be spun and enjoyed right now in MUCH’s First Spins (click here to listen). The much anticipated follow up to Mar’s 2010 debut Doo Wops and Hooligans doesn’t disappoint, showing growth and experimentation without losing the emotion and passion Mar’s groundbreaking debut.
Heavily influenced by the decade of Bruno’s childhood, Mars took music cues for Jukebox from artists like Prince, The Police and of course, Michael Jackson. Moonshine features a distinct 1980s sound, borrowing a few layers of backing track from Michael Jackson’s Beat It. While many musicians do their best to emulate the King of Pop with their sound and movements, Mars is one of the few artists since Jackson’s passing who possesses the talent worthy of sampling Jackson (I’m looking at you, Chris Brown).
The singer, songwriter and producer goes for his second reggae infused track in as many albums, this time with the upbeat Show Me, getting it right this time around, unlike with the depressing Liquor Store Blues from Doo Wops.
Mars shows that he hasn’t abandoned his Doo Wop and Hooligans roots, proving his soul is still old and his heart is still bluesy on the album’s final track, If I Knew. Singing about the innocence of love at 17, Mars again shows remorse for events that transpired in his love life, a topic also explored on the album’s standout track When I Was Your Man.
While the disc boasts an incredible line up of producer’s, including Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, fun.), Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse) and Mar’s own production team The Smeezington, the Jukebox is threatened at times to be overshadowed by the numerous layers of instruments and sound effects, possibly a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. When I Was Your Man is reminiscent of the live version of Young Girls Mars performed on SNL and the Victoria Secret runway show, showing that when you take away the who’s who in the music biz, the synthesizers, and the sound effects, Mars is the real deal. Sure, the album sounds great with the wall of sound created by a wish list of producers, but not every song needs that much dressing up. Some sound good just the way they are.Tweet