They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then Bruno Mars is the master of flattery. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In his sophomore album, aptly titled Unorthodox Jukebox, Mars makes several musical references to various artists, creating an album reminiscent of a jukebox.
Mars’ album opens with the tune Young Girls, a fun and lyrically advanced tune. This an excellent opening number for Mars because it doesn’t quite transcend into the jukebox throwbacks of the rest of the album. We get to see a bit of Doo-Wop Bruno before being confronted with the Jukebox version. The songs Moonshine and Locked Out of Heaven rank low on the lyrical charts, but offer a warm comforting feel that perhaps Mars is most comfortable with.
While Natalie, If I Knew, and When I Was Your Man definitely sound a little too reminiscent of other artists for my tastes, my least favorite song on the album is Gorilla. Ironically, it’s also my favorite.
As someone who loves to listen to music, whether there are words or not, I love the sound of Gorilla. This sexed-up rock jam showcases Mars’ true talent. He breaks out a spectacular falsetto towards the end that left me thoroughly impressed. However, the lyrics create a stumbling block for me.
Mars sings at one point,
“You and me baby making love like gorillas
You and me baby making love like gorillas
Yeah I got a fistful of your hair
But you dont look like you’re scared…”
Now, I’m not entirely sure about all the details concerning mating rituals of gorillas, but from what I understand (and what youtube has told me), it’s not that exciting. Sure, gorillas are known for being large, territorial beasts, but genetically and anatomically, they’re not that far off from humans. This song loses me, partly because I have no desire to go at it like gorillas, but maybe this is the “unorthodox” part of the jukebox themed album.
Overall, Bruno Mars’ album Unorthodox Jukebox isn’t a success nor a failure. It showcases his natural singing ability, but leaves a lot to be desired from the artist.