Oct 5, 2010 Elektra / WEA International
In my line of work I need to make snap decisions: do I like it or do I discard it? I possibly listen to more new music in a week than most people do in a month, or even a year judging by current music sales. To be asked to review music on a semi-regular basis seemed natural. After all the hats I wear in my day to day, what’s one more….
For my Zouch debut, I zeroed in on Bruno Mars, as I was eagerly anticipating listening to this record. For the uninitiated, Bruno Mars was a struggling artist who started to make a name for himself in the music industry by writing and producing for well known names like Flo Rida, Sean Kingston and Adam Levine (Maroon 5), as opposed to performing himself. Building on that success, Mars then gained a major boost with the rise of two chart topping tracks, B.o.B’s Nothin On You and Travie McCoy’s Billionaire. Some might even be surprised to know he also had a hand in Cee Lo Green’s internet smash hit “Fuck You”, the perfect lament for every boy who has ever been dumped on.
Commercial success aside, my curiosity was related to what he would present to the public as a representation of Bruno Mars the artist. His vocal hook on Billionaire really caught my ear and became a sunroof open, speeding down the freeway summertime track for me. So with great expectations, I have to be honest and say I was a little disappointed by the overall result; but allow me the chance to explain the source of my disenchantment before you see this as a slight on Mars.
His previous collaborations have showcased both his diversity and ability to deliver different styles of pop music, and with such a stellar track record, the bar was set high for his debut record. Although Doo-Wops & Hooligans elegantly mirrors his previous history of releasing diverse material, I had personally hoped for Mars to create a personal collection of songs with a cohesive feel and style. This feels to me like a record of singles.
Bruno, give us a chance to peek behind the curtain, reveal to us who you are as an artist. Instead, this disc delivers more of what we already know: his range as a performer and songwriter are undeniable. Peter Gene Hernandez (Mars’ birth name) is a star, and that is obviously not a bad thing. A review however, is really just one man’s opinion, and in my opinion I want to hear more tracks like Count on Me or The Lazy Song (video below). Those tracks, like Billionaire are Mars’ sweet spot, his playful nature shines in the performance and the vibe just sucks me in….it is those tracks that make me a fan.
The easygoing nature of Mars’ vocals mixed with modern day dub and R&B influences make me yearn for the heat and not the current dropping temps here in Canada.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans really feels to me like a SUMMERTIME record, so instead of lamenting the loss of summer, perhaps I should just crack a heat lamp, lie on the couch and allow Mars’ music to whisk me away to a distant beach… Because today I swear, I’m not doing anything.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 discs
1 Discs – Beg your friends to borrow it, if you must
2 Discs – Scout out the best tracks then buy them digitally
3 Discs – Worth the time to listen and perhaps buy the entire album
4 Discs – Buy it NOW!
5 Discs – I am too cynical to give out a perfect score