21 December 2010 (released)
18 December 2010
It’s been quite a year for Peter Gene Hernandez or as we know him Bruno Mars. Perhaps that should be Bruno Midas, as this year everything he’s touched has been a hit. After featuring on chart toppers with B.o.B, Cee-Lo Green and Travie McCoy, the singer took over the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with the huge number one ‘Just The Way You Are’. He’s undoubtedly one of the artists of the year.
His big hit features on his debut album of course, but it’s not typical of the content. US top ten hit ‘Grenade’, is a better taster, with pure and clean vocals over a pounding drum beat. It’s a better song than ‘Just the Way Your Are’ and should be a bigger hit.
If those two songs provide great pop but little in way of surprise, then it’s from ‘Our First Time’ (track 3) that the album offers an interesting change in direction. It’s a groovy soul ballad in the mould of Michael Jackson with a mix of Maxwell. The Outkast style funk-of ‘Runaway Baby’ follows and before you know it, you are halfway through the album.
With ‘The Lazy Song’ there’s the first hint of Jason Mraz. Both singers have similar clear pop voices and they even both like a good hat. There’s no surprise that Mars is using his template for sing-a-long pop but the later track ‘Count On Me’ is too much of a copy.
Later there’s some reggae with ‘Liquor Store Blues’, featuring Damian Marley, which sounds slightly out of place here but is till infectious. ‘Ticket to the Moon’ is a tender ballad with a sumptuous piano bed. It’s a pop album made for 2010 and a touch saccharine and may well date badly in years to come. But right now you will do well to find anything better.