Review - Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox
‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ is the perfect name for either of Mars’ albums, but certainly more so his second. If anyone was surprised by the massive success (or, by the success at all) of ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’, then you’re prepared for this. ‘Doo-Wops’ was a collection of pop songs that might not have been mainstream, but weren’t too far out there. ‘Unorthodox’ is…well…just that.
The album is very – VERY – old school. The singer/songwriter bounces around musical influences, nodding a serious head to so many greats. Lead single “Locked Out of Heaven” couldn’t be more Police if it tried. “Treasure” is 1,000% DISCO (yes, DISCO IS BACK), “Moonshine” could easily have been an MJ song in his heyday, and the rest of the CD is filled with references to Motown, old-school R&B/pop, and whatever else you can find in the annals of Billboard’s Hot 100.
Do not fret though – Mars is very careful not to make a record that sound too dated. It’s the little things that keep ‘Jukebox’ in our time; little things like the electronic blips in “Locked Out of Heaven” or the hip-hop-ready vocal sample in “Money Make Her Smile”. Then there are lovely tunes that sound timeless like “When I Was Your Man”.
I have even more respect for Bruno now than I did before. First off, he’s a STUNNING musician, singer, and songwriter. That alone should be enough for us. But on top of that, he went against what was popular and succeeded. Many artists manage that once, but the next time around, they simply don’t have it in them and they fall back on Top 40-beats and lyrics. Not Mars – he’s taken even greater risks this time around, betting his entire career on music that stopped being popular years ago.
And it is absolutely going to pay off.
Listen to: the entire album.