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Out Of This World
Doo-wops & Hooligans - Bruno Mars
Member Name: xx_nic_xx
Doo-wops & Hooligans - Bruno Mars
Advantages: Excellent variety, a clear direction, supreme vocals, slick production
Disadvantages: Lack of R&B
The album isn't released in the UK until January 2011, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy from iTunes US.
Just The Way You Are
Our First Time
The Lazy Song
Talking To The Moon
Liquor Store Blues
Count On Me
The Other Side
The album kicks off in a big way, with my personal favourite, Grenade. Grenade speaks of an unrequited love, "I'll catch a grenade for you, you know I'll do anything for you, but you won't do the same" is sang with passion and the mid-tempo beats compliment this supremely. It's the lyrics, however, that really stand out here as Mars clearly sings from the heart on every track, Grenade being no different. The lyrics resonate no end and this is one of the songs on the album that everybody should be able to relate to. The subtle verses build and build into a fantastic crescendo where Mars almost literally sings his heart out. Talking of singing your heart out, Just The Way You Are, the worldwide number one definitely hit's the spot here, in the opposing way that Grenade does. When sung on The X Factor recently, Simon Cowell commented that this is the song all girls wish their boyfriends would write for them - and he couldn't be more right. This is bound to be a modern day valentine classic that breaks the mould by lacking the cheesy or over-sentimental vibe that is usually rife with this type of music.
The sentimental material doesn't stop there - yep, there's more, much more and it's a bit of a mixed bag. Marry You is definitely the lesser of the four evils; it's an upbeat number, something that you'd find on the soundtrack to a very sleazy romantic comedy - not necessarily a bad thing. This is one of the catchiest songs on the album and one that can easily be played on repeat without the need for a tub of pills and a bottle of vodka, whereas Talking To The Moon sounds like something you would listen to while swallowing aforementioned pills. Our First Time sounds strikingly similar to Robin Thicke's irritatingly slow hit Lost Without You, with Mars's lacklustre vocals grating throughout every verse. Count On Me is marginally better, although a bit 'meh' and something you'll probably find yourself skipping if you're not a fan of the quirky Jason Mraz or Damien Rice.
Despite a few dips in quality, Mars's song writing ability is unquestioned here, he's put together a cohesive and fully listenable album that true fans of the genre will adore. Anyone who's more into their bass-heavy R&B may struggle to find something to latch onto here though, which is a shame as if he could have captured a wide audience like that, his career could, and likely would have soured into unprecedented heights. That said, his music is more than capable of appealing to a wide audience - he's got the teen girls sussed with Just The Way You Are, which is just as likely to appeal to their mums as well. Mars even goes down the unexpected route of giving us a bit of reggae and 60s inspired music, which crosses over into a whole other market. Production wise everything is slick and gels together perfectly; even the vast changes in genre not enough to knock this album off its smooth course. All of the production credits go to The Smeezingtons, who, with a little help from Supa Dupz and Needlz, have produced the entire album, which unquestionable is what gives the album that ever-so interrelated and solid feel to it.
In terms of guest stars, Mars gets it oh so right, opting to work with people who are not only relevant in today's market, but are unique in their own specific way. There are a total of three guest stars on the album, on only two songs out of the 10, proving that Mars not only knows his own mind and music, but he knows when a specific musician could add a touch of genius to a song. The guest stars come in the form of the unlikely Damien Marley, son of Bob Marley, Cee-Lo Green and rapper B.O.B. The two songs that these three guest star on are two of the best songs on the album, by a long way. First up is Marley who guests on Liquor Store Blues, the reggae inspired song on the album and undoubtedly one of the most creative and daring. The upbeat song masks the slightly depressing lyrics of alcoholism and homelessness which Mars blends seemingly with the music, with Marley providing suitably catchy vocals which merge with Mar's parts with ease. The Other Side, featuring Cee-Lo Green and B.O.B is the second single to be released from the album and it's easy to see why. The song is catchy from first listen and Green and B.O.B only add to that captivating fashion that is no doubt to become a hit. The song features some of the best lyrics on the entire album and the chorus is far superior to anything you find here. This is one of those songs that you won't necessarily want to listen to repeatedly, however, it's one that remains fresh on every listen and for that simple reason, The Other Side becomes one of the stand out tracks on the album.
Runaway is the most inspired and relevant song on the album. The 60s are back - fact, artists like Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith and Duffy have been experimenting successfully with the genre since around 2007. However, with the release of the Cee-Lo Green smash hit F*ck You (Forget You), it's clear that 60s inspired tracks aren't just for the British public and it's now becoming a global phenomenon. Runaway is one of the most endearing tracks on the album, because lets face it, it shouldn't work, but it does and it works damn well. Mars sounds superb throughout and the up-tempo melody is one that will undoubtedly have you humming along for hours. The Lazy Song is a little more generic, but no less resonate.
Overall this is a fantastic debut album, out of the 10 tracks, there are only 2 tracks that really aren't all that great. Bruno Mars clearly knows his own style and his song writing abilities are unquestioned. Although he's aware of his niche, he's capable and confident enough to experiment with different styles, but with production like this, it all blends together seamlessly and you'll soon find that you've listened to the entire album without even noticing a change in pace.
Bruno Mars is definitely a talent to keep a watchful eye on.
Summary: Bruno Mars gets it oh so right with his debut.