Bruno Mars Makes Impressive Solo Debut with 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans'

Categories: CD Preview
Bruno Mars

Whether or not you have enjoyed Bruno Mars on singles such as Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" and B.o.B.'s "Nothin' on You," there's no escaping him now. The 24-year-old penned the explosive single "Fuck You" for Cee Lo Green, and the crooner is finally stepping out on his own with his new debut full-length album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

It is an impressive debut, with guests Damian Marley, Lupe Fiasco and his old pals Cee-Lo and B.o.B. making cameos on the Michael Jackson-esque singer's album. The disc is pure pop, with an emphasis on catchy, simple piano-driven melodies that are designed to get people to sing along. It worked with his first hit single, "Just the Way You Are" (the album has a killer rap by Fiasco on the remix), and there are bound to be many more chart climbers off the album.

It begins with the in-your-face "Grenade," a harsh song you might not expect from the seemingly mild-mannered Mars. In it, he chastises his lover for not being willing to show the emotion or make the sacrifices he is for her. It is surprising and fresh and sets the tone for just how diverse the album is.

There are touches of sweet R&B in "Our First Time," while "Runaway Baby" is infused with rock guitar breakdowns. Then, like the title of the album, many of the tracks hark back to a different era, borrowing jangly sounds from the 50's on songs such as "The Other Side".

It is evident, like his work on "Billionaire," Mars is also heavily influenced by the sounds of reggae. "Liquor Store Blues," the song he collaborated with  Marley on, is an honest look at depression and self-medication through drugs and alcohol. It's even more hard-hitting considering Mars' recent arrest for cocaine possession.

Hopefully the release of Doo Wops & Hooligans puts Mars in a happy place, because the album is so solid and marketable. It's clear Mars doesn't take himself too seriously, considering he jokes about wearing a Snuggie and throwing his hand in his pants in "The Lazy Song", and it is that anything-goes storytelling that makes him an artist with potential for great longevity.

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