The other day I got a really nice ask in my inbox after I reviewed Bruno Mars’s “Versace on the Floor”
Q: “Great review! What’s your favorite Bruno Mars song so far?”
A: Hi! Thank you very much! I’m very enthusiastic about his music so I took my time to answer.
From the first Album, I really love “Just the Way You Are” because he connects to the audience with sentimental, heartfelt lyrics. It’s like a warm hug: so wholesome and kind. Not to mention it has this simple beauty to it. This song had the potential to be slowed down but I think that one of the reasons it’s kind of fast paced is because he had so many examples of this person’s beauty. Almost as if he HAD to say every single thing he thought about her and that’s exactly why he speeds through saying it, because there’s so much to say. Kind of like when a painter might rush through a rough draft/drawing just to lay down his idea in that moment of inspiration! I have a feeling this song kept a lot of its original, raw elements (from when it was first written down) because it sounds too genuine to be changed by producers. “Talking to the Moon” is also a great track because it has the basic structure for a very relatable song. I understand why so many people like it. I think maybe he was lacking a few more words or descriptions but I see why keeping the lyrics simple makes sense. It doesn’t take away from the main point: he finds comfort in looking up at the moon, knowing he and this other person are connected regardless of whether the person is there or not.
From the second Album, I can’t pick between “Locked Out of Heaven” and “When I Was Your Man” because they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. “Locked Out of Heaven” has so much symbolism in its lyrics and yet he is being so straightforward with his intentions. He’s literally comparing their sex to a heavenly place. In order to express this euphoric feeling, he uses: an echoing backup vocal, a continues drum beat, and these weird bird sounds (as if we can only hear them when he sings about her). It doesn’t quite make us yearn after her, but the upbeat rhythm captivates us in such a way that we almost forget what he’s saying. If you listen carefully, even the slow parts are building up to a climax, similar to his description of being with her. The comparison between her legs and the gates of heaven is too ironic to ignore, but he does this subtly by hiding his words with the music. “When I was your man” tears down a wall between the listener and singer; he forces us to feel his pain, longing, and regret. The way he looks back at his mistakes while the piano follows his tone of voice gives this song a melancholy mood. For example, when he pushes his voice at the words “I was wrong” the piano forces itself to be louder and yet it stays in the background (because although the music is competing for attention when Bruno gets louder, his voice is exceptionally stronger). However, Mars truly takes the spotlight with his extended, vulnerable “I just want you to know”.
The third album caught me completely off guard being that I got used to a child-like romance he gave in the first two albums. However, if you compare the two, you can see him slowly transitioning from innocent love to sexual desire. That being said, I really enjoy “Versace on the Floor” and “That’s What I like”. I’ve spoken thoroughly about Versace, so I’ll explain my interest to “That’s What I Like”. It’s just sly. You can hear a tongue-in-cheek tone as he starts off so confident! He knows girls will drop to their knees for whatever he offers; the basis for this is that since the girl “deserves” everything and he HAS everything, then he can just list off all his possessions in order to get her attention. A fault here though is that he’s glamorizing this lifestyle by focusing only on a luxurious future together instead of the traditional “I adore you, be with me” approach. I do enjoy how the piano cuts off after item he lists (as if the chords are commas placed between each possession). “Gold Jewelry shining” slows things down for a few seconds but the tempo speeds up again moments afterwards. From 2:40, his smooth voice comes out and you can almost see the vein on his neck as he sing the falsetto on “ice”. It seemed a little forced but he still pulled it off.
In conclusion, my favorite album has to be “Unorthodox Jukebox” because of its intriguing battle between heartbreak and desire.