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Album Review: Doo-Wops & Hooligans

On May 10, 2010 • By

After appearing alongside B.o.B on “Nothin’ on You” and “Billionaire” with Travie McCoy, Bruno Mars is releasing his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

This 10-track work includes his single “Just the Way You Are” (released on July 19) and three songs from his EP, It’s Better If You Don’t Understand. All of the tracks were produced by The Smeezingtons trio—Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine.

Doo-Wops & Hooligans opens with “Grenade,” which was released as a promotional single Sept. 28. The repetitive piano strokes and eerie entrance builds up the pain that many can relate to: the pain of unrequited love.m  Mars would do anything for this woman, and proclaims: “Take a bullet straight through my brain/Yes, I would die for ya baby/But you won’t do the same.”

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“Just the Way You Are” expresses what Mars thinks women want to hear from significant others. He captures hearts with honest lyrics: “There’s not a thing that I would change/’Cause you’re amazing/Just the way you are.”

He follows with “Our First Time,” a sensual song about slow, passionate lovemaking.  With a fusion of jazz and R&B, Mars uses a softer tone of voice  expressing patience and respect for his partner.

The next three tracks are more upbeat. “Runaway Baby” sends a warning to women to stay away from Mars before their hearts get broken. “The Lazy Song” is an anthem for the unmotivated and “Marry You,” like the short, simple title implies, extends a spur-of-the-moment idea to marry and is reminiscent of the surf-pop sound of The Beach Boys.

“Talking to the Moon” focuses on the slow pace of the drums and piano to convey his sorrow. He sings of loneliness which is almost palpable in the chorus: “Talking to the moon/Try to get to you/In hopes you’re on the other side/Talking to me, too.”

“Liquor Store Blues” is a collaboration with Damian Marley, the youngest son of Bob Marley, who proves that he is able to extend the legacy of his father by not only sounding like Bob, but also capturing the soul of the genre he dominated. Mars provides the vocals while Marley solidifies the reggae feel.

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The catchy tune of “Count on Me” shows yet another side to Mars: it’s about friendship and quite easily could be shared among friends as a means of uplifting and providing encouragement.

In comparison to Mars’ carefree songs, “The Other Side,” featuring Cee-Lo Green and B.o.B, tackles a tougher subject. The overall message and haunting repetition of “It’s better if you don’t understand” tries to explain people’s decisions and mistakes; it leaves listeners with an unsettling feeling of getting a glimpse into the other side of people’s unspoken pain.

This singer-songwriter and producer has worked with artists from different genres of music, giving him the experience needed to pull off the sounds on his album. Mars’ variety of sound and relatable lyrics make this album suitable for many ears. Doo-Wops & Hooligans leaves a strong impression of an authentic musician who, instead of following the trend of computer-generated music and auto-tune, is relying on real instruments and raw vocals to win over listeners.

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