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Doo-Wops and Hooligans
Bruno-mars-doo-wops-hooligans
Released

October 4, 2010

Recorded

2010

Genre

Pop, pop rock, reggae fusion, R&B

Length

35:20

Length

Atlantic, Elektra

Doo-Wops & Hooligans is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, released on October 4, 2010. Mars' writing and production team The Smeezingtons were credited with writing all songs and serve as the album's executive producers. The album's title refers to doo-wop music and was chosen to reflect simplicity, as well as appeal to both males and females.

Two digital singles—"Liquor Store Blues" featuring Damian Marley and "Grenade"—were released to promote the album. Lead single "Just the Way You Are" was released on July 19, 2010, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks, going on to become an international top ten hit. "Grenade" was later announced as the second single, and has charted in the top ten in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, as well as becoming his second consecutive number one in the US and UK. "The Lazy Song" was released as the third official single from the album in Spring 2011, peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 and becoming his third consecutive number one single in the UK as a solo artist.

Doo-Wops & Hooligans charted at number three on the Billboard 200 and in the top ten of music charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. The album received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics. The usage of a wide variety of influences was noted by critics, with musical comparisons made to Michael Jackson and Jason Mraz. The album received two nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards in two categories, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Mars embarked on a US headlining tour throughout November and December 2010 to promote the album. Doo-Wops & Hooligans was announced the third biggest-selling album of 2011 in the UK, selling approximately 1,214,420 copies. Worldwide the album has sold over 6 million copies.

Background and developmentEdit

The release of Doo-Wops & Hooligans was announced in a press release on August 25, 2010, following the release of Mars' debut EP, It's Better If You Don't Understand, earlier in the year. Speaking to MTV News, Mars said the EP gave a "nice effect of what's in store" for the album. The album cover was officially released on August 30, 2010. The official track listing was revealed by Atlantic Records on September 9, 2010. Three of the four songs from It's Better If You Don't Understand are included on the album.

On the title of the album, Mars said, "'Doo-wop' is a very special word for me. Because I grew up listening to my dad who, as a Fifties rock & roll head, loved doo-wop music... Plus doo wop songs come from a time back in the day when there were no TRICKS! You just needed a beautiful melody, you needed a beautiful voice, and you needed to CONNECT!... So the 'doo-wop' part is for the women!"... But then because, on this album, I have records that women are going to relate to and men are going to relate to, the doo-wops are for the girls and hooligans are for the guys." In addition, he told 4Music, "It explains the two sides of me. Doo-wop is a special form of music I grew up on. It's straight to the point, very simple. I have songs like that. ... I have that simple, romantic side of me but I'm also just a young, regular dude and that's like the hooligan side!"

CompositionEdit

Music and styleEdit

Primarily a pop album, Doo-Wops and Hooligans was noted by music writers for its diverse variety of influences. Certain songs on the album contain elements rock, reggae, R&B, soul, and hip hop. Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe denoted "bright melodies" and "smooth pop" in the album's music. The Guardian's Alexis Petridis noted "takes on Michael Jacksonish pop soul, Coldplay-style arena rock and a stab at 1960s R&B", but added that the album's "default setting" is "acoustic pop-reggae" and recalls Mars' contribution to Travie McCoy's Billionaire", with "laid-back soft rock, with gentle reggae inflections, hang-loose sentiments and all." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that Mars has "a light, soul-influenced voice that's an easy fit in a range of styles", and that he and The Smeezingtons have "a firm grip on the full spectrum of black pop, and white pop as well." Music journalist Jody Rosen commented that the album's songs "move from power ballads to bedroom anthems to pop-reggae".

Mars' sound has drawn comparisons to Michael Jackson—especially the album's "atmospheric" opener "Grenade" to "Dirty Diana"—as well as to Jason Mraz. Other comparisons in style and sound made include "Grenade" to Kanye West and Shakira, "Just the Way You Are" to U2, "Our First Time" to "Boyz II Men" and singer-songwriters D'Angelo, Al B. Sure!, and Sade, "Runaway Baby" to Little Richard,[19] "The Lazy Song" to Sugar Ray, "Marry You" to Coldplay, "Liquor Store Blues" to Bedouin Soundclash,[24] and "Count on Me" to Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.

Lyrical themesEdit

Lyrically, many tracks have been described as "feel-good", carefree, and optimistic, including love song "Just the Way You Are" ("When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while"), the friendship song "Count on Me" ("You can count on me like 1 2 3 / I'll be there"), and "Marry You", a song singing of a spontaneous marriage idea. In addition, "Runaway Baby" is a guitar-driven "snappy retro trip" and "The Lazy Song" is described as a "hymn to sloth" and a "surf stoner's anthem" ("I be loungin' on the couch just chillin' in my Snuggie / click to MTV so they can teach me how to Dougie"). On the other hand, darker subjects are addressed in "Grenade", the album's masochistic heartbreak song ("Take a bullet straight through my brain / Yes, I would die for ya baby"), "Talking to the Moon" ("Talking to the moon... / In hopes you're on the other side"), and the reggae track "Liquor Store Blues" ("I'll take one shot for my pain / One drag for my sorrow"). The experimental collaboration "The Other Side" was frequently noted as the album's highlight, being the most complicated and having the best production.

SinglesEdit

Bruno Mars performing in Houston, Texas, on November 24, 2010, on The Doo-Wops & Hooligans TourThe very first single from the album was "The Other Side", featuring singer Cee Lo Green and rapper B.o.B, released in the form of EP titled It's Better If You Don't Understand. The accompanying music video was directed by Nick Bilardello and Cameron Duddy, and was released in July 2010.

"Just the Way You Are" was released as the album's official lead single on July 19, 2010. It has since topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks, having sold over 4.5 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has been certified four times platinum in the U.S. It has also peaked at the top of the Australian Singles Chart, the Canadian Hot 100, the Dutch Top 40, the Irish Singles Chart, the New Zealand Singles Chart, and the UK Singles Chart, as well as within the top ten in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The music video was directed by Ethan Lader and was released on September 8, 2010.

The second single "Grenade" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold 4.4 million copies in the US. It has also peaked at the top of the Australian Singles Chart, the Canadian Hot 100, the UK Singles Chart, as well as at the top of the national charts in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland. The music video, directed by Nabil, was released November 19, 2010 and features Mars dragging an upright piano through Los Angeles to sing to the girl of his affections, only to find out she is with another man.

"The Lazy Song" was released as the album's third single, and was sent to U.S. mainstream radio on February 15, 2011. It has peaked at the top of the UK Singles Chart and Danish Singles Chart, as well as entered the Top 10 within the national charts in Australia, Canada and the US. In the United Kingdom the three singles from this album received commercial success reaching the top spot and selling a combined 2.2 million units.

"Marry You" was released as the album's fourth single. It entered the Top 10 within the national charts in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In the UK, it has just missed the Top 10 landing at #11 on the official UK Singles Chart. It also charted at #85 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States without an official release.

Other songsEdit

"Liquor Store Blues" featuring Damian Marley was released to the iTunes Store on September 21 as the album's promotional single."Liquor Store Blues" debuted at number ninety-seven on the Canadian Hot 100 for the week of October 1, 2010. "Runaway Baby" charted in the UK, peaking at number 19, this was due Mars' performance on The X Factor the previous week. "Count on Me" was sent to Australian radio on November 7, 2011.

In Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage, two songs can be heard from the album in the movie, namely "Count on Me" and "Talking to the Moon". Both are credited to Mars in the final credits.

Release and promotionEdit

Doo-Wops & Hooligans saw its premiere on Myspace on September 24 and was released to digital retailers on October 4, then to stores on October 5, 2010. A deluxe edition was released that includes two more tracks: a remix of "Just the Way You Are" featuring Lupe Fiasco and "Somewhere in Brooklyn", originally from It's Better If You Don't Understand. The deluxe edition also includes the music videos of "Just the Way You Are" and "The Other Side".

Mars premiered several of the album's songs during a performance at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 25, 2010. He appeared as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live on October 9, 2010, alongside host Jane Lynch, and performed "Just the Way You Are", "Nothin' on You", and "Grenade". Along with OneRepublic, Mars promoted the album opening for Maroon 5 on the fall leg of the Hands All Over Tour that began October 6, 2010. He also supported Travie McCoy on his European tour from mid-October through November 2010. Atlantic has allowed the musical television series Glee to cover two songs from the album; "Just the Way You Are" and "Marry You" were performed on "Furt", an episode that aired in November 2010.

iPhone app Tap Tap made a series of game based on the album. It is called Bruno Mars Revenge. It features all 10 hits off the standard version from the album. Mars' song "Runaway Baby" was then used as opening song in the 2011 film Friends with Benefits.

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (61/100)
Review scores
Source Rating
allmusic
BBC Music (unfavorable)
The Daily Telegraph
Entertainment Weekly B+
The Guardian
The New York Times (favorable)
Q
Rolling Stone
Slant Magazine
The Washington Post (favorable)

Upon its release, Doo-Wops & Hooligans received mixed to positive reviews from music critics; it was given a normalized rating of 61/100, based on thirteen reviews on the aggregate website Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt gave the album a B+ rating, praising Mars for his "instant-access melodies" and "sly snatches of dance-floor swagger", but noting weaknesses in songs deviant from his conventional pop and soul genres. Sean Fennessey of The Washington Post gave the album a favorable review, calling it "effortlessly tuneful" and a good start to a "durable career". Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen called the album "the year's finest debut" whose tracks "deliver pleasure without pretension". Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called Doo-Wops & Hooligans a "fantastically polyglot record that shows him to be a careful study across a range of pop songcraft", applauding its diverse range of influences. Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski of The Daily Telegraph called it "a really exciting debut" and complimented "the Kanye West-style genre-bending on Grenade, The Other Side and Our First Time, which joins the dots between Michael Jackson and Bob Marley."

However, Q gave it two out of five stars and commented that "mostly, he has little to say."] Tim Sendra of allmusic gave the album a rating of three stars out of five, calling it "an uneven debut ... [that] doesn't tap into his potential as a writer or a producer". Sendra commended the earlier released song "The Other Side" as the highlight of the album, noting, though, that it "points to a direction Mars could have taken with the album but didn't". Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave the album a rating of two stars out of five, commenting "Bruno Mars's pop nous is spoiled by some unfortunate vegetable metaphors". Eric Henderson writing for Slant Magazine criticized the album, saying it "manages to wear out its welcome about halfway through", calling it an attempt to "please just about everybody." Scott Kara of The New Zealand Herald enjoyed the first two tracks of the album, but noted it could have had more of both titular elements to raise its "potency". Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe was disappointed that the album lacked an autobiographical aspect to it, but otherwise commended Mars' delivery.

Commercial performanceEdit

In the United States, Doo-Wops & Hooligans debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart for the week of October 13, 2010, selling 55,000 copies. Since then the album has sold 1,591,500 copies in the United States and was also certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album debuted the same week on the Canadian Albums Chart at number six, and reached the top of the chart four months later. The album peaked at number one in the UK, in the top five in New Zealand and Australia, and number twenty-nine in Ireland. In 2011, Doo-Wops & Hooligans was certified Platinum in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK. As of December 2011, the album had sold 1,101,185 copies in the UK, becoming the third album in 2011 to accumulate one million sales. Debuting at number one, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is the first debut album of a foreign artist to reach number one on the German Albums Chart since Lady Gaga's The Fame did so in January 2010.

Track listingEdit

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Grenade" Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Andrew Wyatt The Smeezingtons 3:42
2. "Just The Way You Are" Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Khalil Walton, Khari Cain The Smeezingtons, Needlz 3:41
3. "Our First Time" Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Dwayne Chin-quee, Mitchum Chin The Smeezingtons, The Supa Dups 4:03
4. "Runaway Baby" Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Brown The Smeezingtons 2:28
5. "The Lazy Song" Mars, Lawrence, Levine, K'naan The Smeezingtons 3:16
6. "Marry You" Mars, Lawrence, Levine The Smeezingtons 3:50
7. "Talking to the Moon" Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Albert Winkler, Jeff Bhasker The Smeezingtons 3:38
8. "Liquor Store Blues (featuring Damian Marley) Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Chin-quee, Chin, Marley, Thomas Pentz The Smeezingtons, The Supa Dups 3:49
9. "Count on Me" Mars, Lawrence, Levine The Smeezingtons 3:17
10. "The Other Side" (featuring Cee Lo Green and B.o.B) Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Brown, Mike Caren, Patrick Stump, Kaveh Rastegar, John Wicks, Jeremy Ruzumna, Joshua Lopez, Bobby Simmons, Jr. The Smeezingtons 3:48
Total length: 35:26

Credits and personnelEdit

  • B.o.B – vocals, composer
  • Aaron Bay-Schuck – A&R
  • Jeff Bhasker – composer
  • Nicki Bilardello – art direction, design
  • Brody Brown – composer, instrumentation
  • Mitchum Chin – composer
  • Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee – drums, producer, arranger, composer, programming
  • DJ Dizzy – scratching
  • Lanre Gaba – A&R
  • Cee Lo Green – vocals
  • Claude Kelly – composer
  • Philip Lawrence – composer
  • Ari Levine – composer, engineer, instrumentation
  • Eric Madrid – assistant
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Damian Marley – vocals, composer
  • Bruno Mars – vocals, composer, instrumentation
  • Needlz – producer, composer
  • Thomas Pentz – composer
  • Michelle Piza – package manager
  • Christian Plata – assistant
  • Alex Schwartz – A&R
  • Khalil Walton – composer
  • Albert Winkler – composer
  • Andrew Wyatt – composer

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label(s) Formats Edition
France October 4, 2010 Warner Music Digital download Standard
United States Atlantic, Elektra Standard, Deluxe
Austria October 5, 2010 Warner Music CD Standard
Canada
Mexico Digital download Standard, Deluxe
United States Atlantic, Elektra CD Standard, Deluxe
New Zealand October 11, 2010 Warner Music Standard
Australia October 15, 2010
United States December 7, 2010 Atlantic, Elektra LP
Japan January 12, 2011 (standard)

May 23, 2012 (platinum)

Warner Music CD Standard
Germany January 14, 2011 CD, LP
Denmark January 17, 2011 CD, digital download
United Kingdom Elektra
Poland January 24, 2011 Warner Music
Brazil February 18, 2011


Bruno on the albumEdit

"I’m a big fan of doo-wop music, my album has a little bit of that influence, with the simplicity of it… you can listen to a thousand doo-wop songs, and it’s the same four chords. But it’s the message behind the song—its straight to the point and it’s beautiful. That’s what you call your girl, your “doo-wop.” I call my girlfriend my “doo-wop”! On this album, I have records that women are going to relate to and men are going to relate to. So doo-wops are for the girls, and hooligans are for the guys." - Bruno in an interview with Idolator

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