By Tressa Eckermann – Contributor
Bruno Mars has said in interviews that from a young age he was exposed to a variety of music including reggae, rock, hip hop, and R&B. He began impersonating and performing songs by Michael Jackson, Elvis and The Temptations. It’s these artists’ influence that listeners can hear the most of in Mars’ debut fulllength album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.’
The 25-year-old Mars was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He started out his career as a music producer writing songs for the likes of Adam Levine, Brandy and Travie McCoy, the later of which he had a 2010 summer hit with the song “Billionaire.”
The album is ridiculously addictive. Almost two days after listening to it, I’m still humming some of the songs. The first track, “Grenade,” is a near-perfect pop song with catchy hooks. I was a little unsure at first if I’d like it, but within the first minute I found my foot tapping and shoulders swaying. I realized after the first couple songs that this was the general trend to all of Mars’ songs.
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for the occasional bubblegum-pop song that’s kind of cheesy but insanely sweet, which is probably why I had a goofy smile on my face from beginning to end of “Just the Way You Are.” The first release from the album is really sweet and uncomplicated and a straight forward, fun and genuinely good song made all the better by it’s simplicity.
The fourth track, “Runaway Baby,” feels like you’re listening to a ‘60s blues song. It was easily my favorite song off the whole album. The sixth track “Marry You,” also followed in that ‘60s ‘doo-wop’ style. It felt like a Franki Valli and the Four Seasons song, rich with a strong wall of sound (think Phil Spektor in the 1960s) beat.
The best part about this album is the fact that even though Mars’ music does draw heavy influence from the 1960s style, it is uniquely his own. Tracks like “The Lazy Song” have a laid-back, island vibe, an obvious nod to his upbringing. Even on a song like “Count On Me” that feels like an outtake from a recording session, you can still feel Mars’ talent and passion for his music.
I got the sense listening to the album that Mars isn’t a musician who would compromise his work.
Mars is bringing a touch of class to the music industry with his own brand of uncompromising, catchy and disarming music.