Album Review: Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox

When we first heard Bruno Mars singing the chorus part of B.o.B.’s smash hit Nothin On You back in 2010, we were intrigued by his interesting voice quality and tone.  Then we got to experience his full capacity and versatility in his debut album Doo Wops and Hooligans.  With that album, I became such a huge fan or should I say a Hooligan.  I watched his concert and became a bigger fan.  I tried singing his songs that I even performed his breakout single Just the Way You Are in my brother’s wedding!

This singer-songwriter is one tremendous force to be reckoned with and has transformed from being a Hawaii native to a worldwide superstar, plus he is half-Filipino too!  Some of the critics say that vocally, he is the next Michael Jackson.  Now he has returned with his sophomore album—one of the most anticipated albums this year—Unorthodox Jukebox.  Will Bruno experience the Sophomore Jinx or will he stay as one of the most relevant singers of this generation?  Let’s take a look at the tracks:

  1. Young Girls – Bruno’s second offering kicks off with a beautifully arranged music with remnants of Doo Wops.  I really like the drum beats that sound similar with that of Grenade.
  2. Locked Out Of Heaven – Now here comes Mr. Mars!  This song is giving me the 80’s vibe and it seems like whenever I listen to this track I feel like I’m being baked or something.  His vocals are AMAZING and it pierces through every guitar strings, percussion  and synthesizers and everything in between.  One of my favorite Mars singles to date.
  3. Gorilla – And the vibe from the 80’s continues.  I guess this is an ambitious effort, and it works big time.  Oh and by the way, he sounds so much like Michael Jackson on this one.  I wonder about Bruno’s fascination to monkeys and gorillas, but with this song, I know now why.  But in this jungle you can’t run / Coz what I got for you / I promise it’s a killer / You’ll be banging on your chest / Bang Bang / Gorilla.  I. F CKIN. LOVE. THIS. SONG.  You and me, baby, making love like gorillas. Damn.
  4. Treasure – Now I know the main theme of this album.  Bruno Mars is trying to give his listeners a taste of throwback 80’s music.  Treasure is one of those groovy, ecstatic songs that you can dance with.  Put your dancing shoes and get your disco groove on with this track.  Another gem of a song.
  5. Moonshine – Listening to this track takes you to a different place, just like in the lyrics, Take us to the stars tonight / Take us to that special place.  The overall production of this track is so hypnotic that when you close your eyes you would feel you are in a different time zone.
  6. When I Was Your Man – With just a piano to accompany him, Bruno Mars lays out his heart and soul on this powerful, heartbreaking ballad.  With all the fun, retro vibe in this album, this track clearly stands out from the rest, like a bucket of cold water splashing onto your face.
  7. Natalie – Just as soon as the previous ballad died down, drum thumps and hand claps enter the arena and Mars tries to sing his heart out, bewailing about a gold-digger named Natalie.  The track is catchy that you can join the clapping and the lamenting, with a bit of head bopping on the side.
  8. Show Me – This song takes you again to a different place, but this time, to the beach!  Just like his song in Doo Wops, Liquor Store Blues, this song is Mars’ one-but-staple reggae track of the album.  This track is like another breeze of fresh, summer air.
  9. Money Make Her Smile – This is probably the most current song in the album.  It’s a blissful mix of electronic, pop, R & B and hip-hop that can make Chris Brown excited.
  10. If I Knew – Well, I did not expect for Bruno Mars to end his sophomore album with a dulcet, candy-coated, doo-wopping ballad that is too short, you would ask for more!

Final Thoughts:  An Instant Classic.  Unorthodox Jukebox is an utterly incredible effort for Bruno Mars.  I do not know if it’s better than his first album or not, but with two albums in, I think Mars has put the stamp of being significant in the Music Industry.  If you love listening to some throwback, groovy music of the 80’s, this album is definitely a great buy.

Songs to be put on your Playlist: Gorilla, Locked Out Of Heaven, When I Was Your Man, Treasure.

Grab this album if you like: Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Smeezingtons, Mark Ronson.

4.5 out of 5


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