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Unorthodox Jukebox
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon January 21, 2013
I was really hard on Bruno Mars when he released his debut album `Doo-Wops & Hooligans'. Ok, I wasn't harsh as much as realistic. It was catchy yet lazy and really showed a lack of depth in a rising star I wanted to see a more complete thought from. It was redundant and uninspired and too nonchalant for its own good. I still gave it a C, and I still love a few of the tracks on the album (who can deny `Just the Way You Are', and obviously `Marry Me' is still catchy and lovely as all get out) but there is no hiding my disappointment with the effort overall.

`Unorthodox Jukebox' is a different animal.

This is NOT a perfect album, and yet I really think that this better identifies who Bruno Mars is and presents a more complete approach to his breed of nostalgic pseudo-pop. Some claim that Mars genre hops all over this album and yet I don't see that. Mars is very focused on the type of music he is producing here, and it shows in a very consistent and overall very impactful album. From the first single sampling The Police, Bruno Mars salivates all over 80's rock-pop in a way that feels fresh, funky and completely reflective. Mars still suffers from some lazy lyric development, but his silky smooth vocals and his direct approach make this a very enjoyable album from start to finish.

Outside of the ill-advised `Show Me' (why to all `island' songs carry the same repetitive and uninspired musicality?), this album showcases nostalgic pop done with a modern twist very well. `Locked Out Of Heaven' is so juicy and delicious to the ears, and `Treasure' explores the highlights of Motown with pitch perfect charisma. `Natalie' pulls darker strings until that chorus line bursts in and just explodes all over the place. `Moonshine' feels very `Phil Collins' to me, which is something I really like. `Money Make Her Smile' and `Young Girls' seem a little uninspired lyrically, but the musical prowess of the tracks make them pop in all the right places. `Young Girls' sooths on the eardrums and `Money Make Her Smile' uses vocal distortion in the right way. `Gorilla' is exactly how you do an edgy love song (or `make love' song), complete with rock ballad influence igniting the chorus, and the closing track, `If I Knew' is fluid and just plain beautiful to listen to (his voice is perfectly suited for ballads). The throwback vibe here (I mean, Frankie Valli would have drooled all over this song) is such a classic way to end this album. It is far better than `When I Was Your Man', which feels somewhat generic in tone despite having some beautiful vocals.

So, this is a major step up from his debut. I don't like `Show Me' at all, but that is really the only sour note (even `When I Was Your Man' is a good song despite being unoriginal). The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to give Bruno Mars top honors for this collection of inspired and impressive tracks.
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on April 12, 2017
Love every song on this CD. It's Bruno Mars - that's really all I want to say about that. Excellent!!! I highly recommend this. Has some of his big hits.
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on March 14, 2013
This Album is awesome!!! When I listen to it I hear a soulful voice influenced by the sounds of Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind, & Fire...Journey, Sting etc.. If you LOVE music of the past, you will fall in love with Bruno and this album. Although some of the lyrics are a little explicit,(very few by the way... the song"Gorilla" to be exact) you can always skip it if you have little ears listening in on your tunes. My grand daughter loves his music too and I just do my voice over to muffle out the lyrics. No big deal. There's more profanity on prime time television!!! The flavor of his song writing is unique, fun and nostalgic and I became an instant fan after hearing his first album...well, actually I remember him doing his Michael Jackson routine as a kid and it blew me away even then...I can listen to Bruno all day!!!. His talent and artistic traits has made him a true entertainer!( Loved him on SNL too) Bruddah can act!!! ;-)..... many of us here in Hawaii are hardcore fans and very proud of him, his success and well deserved rise to stardom!!!!...You won't regret buying this!!! Enjoy!!! :-)
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on November 23, 2013
It is clear by now that Bruno Mars is here to stay as the go-to guy for catchy top 50 Billboard smash hits. But on this album, he flexes his songwriting muscle as he puts together a solid album that shows off his diversity as an artist. Songs like "Locked Out Of Heaven" and "Treasure" are the usual Bruno Mars easily digestible pop music (There's a reason these were the first two singles), and while these songs are fine, this album truly shines when Bruno takes a whimsical departure and makes a song that is legitimately funny. Songs like "Nathalie" and "Money Make Her Smile" are going to put a quick smile on your face. "Gorilla" is probably the albums most interesting track, although it has a very sexy tone, the lyrics make it very funny as well. If you enjoy the songs I've mentioned here then you owe it to yourself to take a journey through Bruno Mars latest album.
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on March 8, 2014
I am a full time engineer, arranger and producer of 40 years and I like to stay up with what is current. The production on this is fine and there is significant talent on teh album. I think the gratuitous use of explicit language and themes amounts to nothing more than pandering though. That type of material is simplistic and is not only offensive to some, but boring. This will never be one of my favorite albums. However, it is a good study for me to see what types of production concepts are currently popular.
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on March 29, 2013
Overall, this is a pretty good album by Bruno Mars.
The album starts off with ‘Young Girls,’ and I absolutely love this song. Next is ‘Locked out of Heaven,’ which was one of the leading singles. Even though it is only about sex, it is still very catchy. ‘Gorillas’ has more of a primal and simple feeling, but a good beat that grew on me a lot. ‘Moonshine’ is decent song with an R&B feel, and I’m mentioning it in my review, which means I like it enough to write about it. ‘Treasure is actually the only song that I did not enjoy. “When I Was Your Man’ is very beautiful slow song. It really compliments the album and is my favorite song of the album. At first, ‘Natalie’ was not in my favorite 5 songs of the album, but it really grew on me and now it is one of my favorite Bruno Mars songs. It tells a story that I haven’t heard in music before, and the chord change in the last fourth of the song is delicious! ‘Show Me,’ yet another song with sexual implications; to me it gives off a cool tropical vibe. Now that I think about it, I like how much variety the album has, even with only ten songs. I love the synthesizers in ‘Money Makes Her Smile,’ and it’s got a catchy chorus that grew on me. ‘If I Knew’ makes a great conclusion to the 35-minute album, it has a similar feel to ‘If I Was Your Man.’
My favorite songs off Unorthodox Jukebox are Young Girls, Gorillas, When I Was Your Man, Natalie, and If I Knew.
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on December 19, 2012
I wasn't 100% sold on Doo Wops &Hooligans, I felt it sounded too much like a demo, too many fillers for a 10 song album, and left much to be desired. But he improved with Jukebox, another album that is geares towards a fuse of many genres such as Pop, Rock, and Soul, pretty much aiming for an MJ formula that so many try and fail to emulate these days, but this one comes quite close. Standout tracks are 80s Corvette cruiser-Moonshine (which I think is his best song EVER), 2013's "Someone Like You"- When I Was Your Man, which will probably score a 2014 Record of the Year nod, the 70 vintage rocker lead single Locked Out of Heaven, and rollercoaster heartbreak song-Natalie. But pretty much every single stands out to a good degree, which is hard to do when you make short albums, on his next effort, I would like to see at least two more cuts on it just to add a bit more to the ride. Some are already jumping broom and giving him the Michael hat, which I think they shouldn't do. But if he makes more albums like this in the future, he will be setting a benchmark in pop music.
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on June 3, 2017
I love Bruno. There are a few songs that aren't as catchy (to me) but what a beautiful voice!! Amazing.
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on September 5, 2017
Not as good as others by this artist. Language Advisory: can't play this around the children. Even made us adults blush.
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on July 16, 2017
Not my fav; but nice if you liked his original music. I like his latest works---they are the BOMB!
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