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Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops and Hooligans

Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SLICK pop is what Bruno Mars seems to specialise in – and it helps to turn his eagerly anticipated debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans into a guilty pleasure.

Featuring collaborations with the likes of Cee Lo Green and Damian Marley, as well as the chart-topping hits Grenade and Just The Way You Are, it showcases a smooth new talent who is capable of channelling the early exuberance of singers such as Michael Jackson with contemporaries such as Cee Lo and Travie McCoy.

That said, the debut LP isn’t the runaway success that its singles suggest it will be. Some of the love-happy sentiments are over-cooked, especially when done in ballad form, while not every track hits the heights we’d perhaps come to expect.

But there’s still plenty to suggest that Mars has one of the year’s biggest sellers on his hands, while underlining his hotter than hot reputation as a major new artist to watch!

The first two tracks are the two singles and they’re both pretty similar, courtesy of solid, danceable back-beats, piano featuring melodies and euphoric, sing-along choruses. In terms of sentiment, however, they couldn’t be more difficult.

Album opener Grenade finds Mars attempting to convince a love that he’d do anything for her and fighting for a relationship, while Just The Way You Are is more a declaration of happiness with Mars stating: “When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change because you’re amazing just the way you are.”

Thereafter, we’re into new territory and some of its slippery. Our First Time is actually terrible and the album’s low-point… a smooth groove slice of R’n’B that finds Mars employing a Michael Jackson vocal and whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the woman he is seducing. It just doesn’t wash, though.

Mars would appear to be an artist who is at his very best when keeping things upbeat and funky and needs work on his ballads. With this in mind, the pop-fuzz of Runaway Baby is a slick slice of fun that’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, while The Lazy Song emerges as a fun ode to doing nothing that channels the memory of singers like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and a little Travie McCoy (a la Billionaire).

Marry You marks another of Mars’ blatant singles in waiting and reverts back to the slick love-pop of Just The Way You Are – namely slick beats, electronics and cheesy sentiments. But it’s addictively catchy.

Talking To The Moon, which appears twice (including an acoustic piano version), is another of the album’s less successful ballad moments and it’s a shame, really, that it appears twice.

But Damian Marley gets to stamp his distinct reggae rap vocals over Liquor Store Blues, which also conforms to a steadfastly reggae vibe, and Cee Lo Green and B.O.B work well together with Mars on the infectiously slick The Other Side. It’s an easy pick as one of the LP’s highlights.

Somewhere To Brooklyn, meanwhile, is another effortless piece of polished pop and another slice of yearning that Mars clearly revels in.

The overall impression, meanwhile, is that Mars has a very bright future ahead of him. Doo-Wops and Hooligans is, like we said, a fun, polished pop offering that really is a guilty pleasure.

Download picks: Grenade, Just The Way You Are, Runaway Baby, The Other Side, Somewhere in Brooklyn

Track listing:

  1. Grenade
  2. Just The Way You Are
  3. Our First Time
  4. Runaway Baby
  5. The Lazy Song
  6. Marry You
  7. Talking To The Moon
  8. Liquor Store Blues feat Damian Marley
  9. Count on Me
  10. The Other Side feat Cee Lo Green and B.O.B
  11. Somewhere in Brooklyn
  12. Talking To The Moon (piano acoustic version)

  1. Agree… mostly. But seriously, he’s a lot better than you give him credit for. This is a terrific debut album.

    Jimmi    Jan 28    #