Bruno Mars first came to fame after his vocals were featured on the song "Billionaire," which he worked on with Travie McCoy in 2010. Fast forward two years and Mars has released his second studio album, "Unorthodox Jukebox", on Dec. 6. Incorporating influences of R&B, soul and reggae into the ten new songs off the record, Mars builds on his musical creativity while still perfecting the art of chart topping singles.
"Unorthodox Jukebox" is a bit more mature for "The Lazy Song" artist. The album takes a more serious note to the majority of songs and only a few mimic the mood of his freshman album from 2010, "Doo-Wops and Hooligans." It's common for artists to expand more creatively with their sophomore albums. Mars builds on the tunes he is known for and expands his horizons by mixing in more acoustic and ballad like characteristics.
Mars, who co-wrote all of the songs on the album, has a lot of talent which shines through in the album ballads. The first single, "Locked Out of Heaven," topped the Billboard 100 chart for a whole month when it was released, and for good reason — the song is catchy without being repetitive and the tune is influenced by soul and reggae music, a quality Mars tries to emulate during performances with an old-school band always behind him on stage.
The first song off the album is "Young Girls." This track isn't the happiest of tunes, but the way Mars sings the words and hits the high notes gives one goose bumps — he isn't simply singing a song, he's telling a story and does it so well that it's hard to not like the rest of the album. "Young Girls" will probably be the next single off the album and will probably hold the number one spot for a while.
Fans of the first album may not entirely like "Unorthodox Jukebox" because of its deeper, more mature perspective, but most will likely enjoy the track "Treasure." This song is so upbeat and fun, it's hard not to enjoy it. This song is so easy to dance to, with lyrics such as, "I know that you don't know it but you're fine so fine/Oh girl I'm going to show you when you're mine oh mine," stuck in your head in the best way possible.
With "Unorthodox Jukebox," Mars has built a solid foundation for his music in the industry. Pop singers normally arrange their music in a way they know their fans will enjoy, but Mars really stepped out of his comfort zone with many of these new songs, and it definitely works in his favor. The music on this album is soulful, original and well-done and shows that even pop musicians can push musical boundaries.
The record isn't the longest of records, with only ten tracks and a few songs that fall below three minutes, but every second of the album is quality work by Mars, his band and his producers. It's hard to find an album that truly maintains its merit from the first strike of a chord to the last pull on a guitar string. But through relatable lyrics and emotional ballads, with "Unorthodox Jukebox," Mars does just that.