He’s back. Undoubtedly back.
After a 2 year hiatus (with the exception of a little song called “Uptown Funk”), Bruno Mars has returned to the music scene’s eye of the storm. His new album”24K Magic”‘s self-titled single shot into the Top 10 on the US Billboard charts and Mars is no stranger to success. Considering that both of Mars’ previous albums are certified multi-platinum, their predecessor is highly anticipated.
I’m a huge music buff with notable ‘obsessions’ (i.e. Nick Jonas, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt) but I don’t think people realize just how big of a Bruno Mars fan I am. I’m a self-professed hooligan in this fandom and have listened to “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” and “Unorthodox Jukebox” front-to-back several times. While those albums produced #1 after #1 like “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Grenade,” and “Treasure,” there are so many stunning tracks that I’m sure people don’t know exist. These songs show the progression that Mars has made as an artist and are crucial to his musical narrative; so that is what I’m here for. In no way am I a technical music critic, so I’m going to share what makes these tracks stand out in my own words instead of trying to defend them in actual music jargon . Here are my top 5 underappreciated Bruno Mars song that I think people should give a listen to:
Honorable Mentions: “Runaway Baby” absolutely would have made this list, but I wanted to keep it limited to songs that are more underappreciated (in my mind). While “Runaway Baby” was never technically released as a radio hit, it still managed it’s way onto Billboard’s Top 100 charts and to people know the song. Like my high school’s band performed it as part of their halftime set…point made.
Ok, so this track was actually released as a single off of “Unorthodox Jukebox” but I personally don’t think it got the recognition it deserved. It was the final single from Mars’ sophomore album and out of his 12 radio appearances, “Young Girls” is only 1 of three that have not been certified platinum. One of the things I love about Mars’ music is the contradiction he can bring out in a song because it really makes you think about its deeper meaning. The music to ‘Young Girls” goes from somber to hopeful while the lyrics are borderline creepy, which really makes me wonder who the figurative man singing this song is. The chorus is dynamic and because of that, I can’t help but belt the lyrics when I’m listening to this song.
“On Top of the World”
Out of the five songs I have listed on this countdown, “On Top of the World” is the only one that has never officially been released. I first heard this song when I went to Mars’ Hooligans in Wondaland tour back in 2011 and was so enticed that I noted down the lyrics in my phone while he was performing it so that I could YouTube it when I got home. This song channels Mars’ funky charm by being down-right infectious and you’ll literally be smiling throughout the whole song. In order to get the full experience though, you HAVE to watch the performance! Trust me, you’ll be humming the “baby baby baby baby’ interaction for days.
“The Other Side”
“The Other Side” is the first deep-cut track off of “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” that I kept on repeat. At the time of it’s release in 2010, Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You” was the song of the century, which in my eyes made his feature in the second verse pop even more. B.o.B comes in for the bridge and when you mix these 3 artists together, its pure brilliance. This track was on Mars’ EP “It’s Better If You Don’t Understand” before its appearance on his debut album and the EP’s title actually derives from the final line of this song. The details that Mars’ puts into his projects is one of my favorite things about him creatively and this song is no exception.
“Talking to the Moon’
Critics have said that the production in this song is overkill, but I love it. I think it adds to the drama of the song’s imagery of a hopeless romantic conversing with a full moon while sitting in a windowsill. While I appreciated this track while listening to “Doo-Wops and Hooligans,” it didn’t really click of how pretty of a song it actually is with me until I saw it performed live on the Hooligans in Wondaland tour. “Talking to the Moon” closed out the high-energy show with Mars on the piano and while I originally thought the juxtaposition of this song in the setlist was off-putting, I came to really love it.
Hands down, this is my favorite Bruno Mars track. It is a sinister story that follows through from beginning to end (I’m a sucker for any form of effective storytelling) of a woman who conned the singer and the repercussions of his relationship with her. His quick-lipped lyrics in the opening verse set the scene for the next 3 minutes and 45 seconds and the back-beat throughout can’t help but make you bop along in your chair. Mars’ vocal range is really showcased with the beat changing at every corner and while I don’t necessarily want to be said Natalie, I really, REALLY love this song.