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Grenade
Bruno-mars-doo-wops-hooligans
Released

September 28, 2010

Recorded

2010

Genre

Pop, R&B, soul

Length

3:42

'Grenade' is a song performed by American singer-songwriter and producer Bruno Mars from his debut studio album Doo-Wops and Hooligans. Initially released as a promotional single on September 28, 2010, it was later announced to be the album's second single. The first track from the album, it was written by Mars along with his production team The Smeezingtons with Brody Brown, Claude Kelly and Andrew Wyatt.

Critical reception has been mostly positive, with reviewers praising the vocals and emotional lyrics of the heartbreak song. It has peaked at number one in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom, and on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his third number-one single in both the United States and the United Kingdom. A music video was released in mid-November 2010.

"Grenade" was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and the newly-introduced Best Pop Solo Performance, losing all of them to British singer Adele.

BackgroundEdit

Doo-Wops & Hooligans spawned two iTunes Store-exclusive promotional singles prior to its release in October 2010—"Liquor Store Blues", which features Damian Marley, and "Grenade". The song was released on September 28, 2010. In an interview with Idolator, Mars revealed songwriter-producer Benny Blanco played him an unreleased track with similar lyrical themes, which served as the song's inspiration. He also expressed desire to release the song as a single, being his "personal favorite". In an interview with Digital Spy, Mars revealed plans to follow hit single "Just The Way You Are" with "Grenade".

CompositionEdit

"Grenade" is a pop and R&B ballad, co-written by Mars with songwriting-production team The Smeezingtons, Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, and Andrew Wyatt. Sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing shows that "Grenade" is set in the key of D minor and was published in common time, with a moderate tempo of 108 beats per minute. Mars' vocals span from A3 to D5 and background vocals are heard throughout. The song starts softly but crescendoes both musically and lyrically toward the climax of the song, backed by "pulsating, synthesized beats". According to Jon Caramanica of The New York Times, the song contains elements of 1980s pop and is accompanied by drums similar to those used by Kanye West. About.com's Bill Lamb noted "classical pop song construction" and The New Zealand Herald's Scott Kara described its beats as Shakira-esque. The song contains elements of Jeff Tweedy's "I'll Fight". Lyrically, the "Grenade" contains masochistic themes and tells the story of heartbreak caused by a failed relationship: "Gave you all I had / And you tossed it in the trash". The chorus has Mars singing, "I'd catch a grenade for ya," and speaks of unrequited love when the subject girl of his affections "won't do the same". As Mars himself simply told Blues & Soul: "'Grenade' represents the OTHER side of love - where you're in love with a woman and you know for a fact that she doesn't love you the way you love HER."

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Grenade has been well received by critics. Lamb gave a review of four-and-a-half stars out of five, praising Mars' vocals and emotional lyrics on a track that "cements his position as the top new artist of 2010". Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt called "Grenade" the "atmospheric opener" of Mars' debut studio album, and enjoyed it as one of the album's highlights, as did The Washington Post's Sean Fennessey. Roberto Mucciacciaro for MTV noted its strong influence and similarity to Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana", a song which Mars has coincidentally covered on several occasions. AOL Radio's Amar Toor praised the song, calling it "nothing short of explosive", and Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen recommended it as proof of Mars' capabilities as a "lavishly gifted melodist". However, Slant's Eric Henderson dismissed its unrealistic lyrics and allmusic's Tim Sendra thought the song was "over-the-top"—one of the weaker ones on the album. For the 54th Grammy Awards, the song has been nominated three awards, including for Song of the Year and Record of the Year, all three of them are snatched by Adele.

Chart performanceEdit

"Grenade" first debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of October 16, 2010 at number 81 and climbed the chart to number five for the week ending December 18, 2010. On January 8, 2011, it peaked at number 1, making it Bruno Mars' third number one single on the chart, the others being B.o.B's "Nothin' on You", on which he was featured, and "Just The Way You Are". (It later dropped and rose back to #1 two more times, making it one of only five singles in Billboard history to have three distinct runs at #1.) In January, 2011, it became his second solo single to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads. In February, it topped the 3 million mark taking only 19 weeks, 4 weeks faster than "Just the Way You Are". As of September 2012, the song has sold 5,269,000 digital copies in the United States. It was Mars' second single to sell over 5 million, just a week after "Just the Way You Are" achieved that feat, and it was only the 3rd time in Billboard history that back-to-back singles have both sold 5 million copies in the digital era. The song spent 36 weeks on the Hot 100.

The song has peaked at number one in the Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. As of February 4, it has spent a total of 4 weeks at the top of the Irish Singles Chart.

Music videoEdit

Bruno Mars - Grenade04:10

Bruno Mars - Grenade

A music video was released on November 19, 2010, directed by NABIL. It involves Mars's efforts to sing to a woman he loves after dragging an upright piano with a rope tied to it through Los Angeles. He wears a suit and encounters a gang and a pit bull along the way. When he reaches the woman's house and finds out she is with another man, he drags himself and the piano in front of a train. As the train approaches Bruno, the video cuts to black. Scenes also feature the singer singing in a dark bedroom, looking out of a rainy window.

In a behind-the-scenes video, Mars explained, "The concept of the video is my struggle, to tell this girl I'd do anything for her, so I'm going as far as dragging a piano to get to her just so I can sing my heart out." The video itself earned Mars three nominations at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, in Best Male Video, Best Pop Video and Video of the Year.

Live performancesEdit

Mars performed the song during a performance at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 25, 2010, with him and his four-piece band dressed in blue tuxedos and black skinny ties. The song was also performed in a similar manner on the October 9, 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live, as part of a segue from "Nothin' on You". A soulful arrangement of the song was sung for a Billboard Tastemakers video session. Additionally, Mars made a musical appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman with "Grenade" accompanied by an all-female string section. The song was performed at the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards on November 28, 2010, where Mars also shared a win for Song of the Year with "Nothin' on You. He also performed the song on the Dutch television show The Voice of Holland on January 21, 2011. On February 13, he performed the song live at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Recently Mars has become apprehensive about performing the song because fans have been throwing dummy grenades on stage, some of which are metal and have posed a safety hazard.

LyricsEdit

Easy come, easy go, that's just how you live,
Oh, take, take, take it all but you never give,
Should've known you was trouble from the first kiss,
Had your eyes wide open, why were they open?

Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash,
You tossed it in the trash, you did,
To give me all your love is all I ever asked,
'Cause what you don't understand is.

I'd catch a grenade for you,
Throw my hand on a blade for you,
I'd jump in front of a train for you,
You know I'd do anything for you.

I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for you, baby,
But you won't do the same.

No, no, no, no,

Black, black, black and blue, beat me 'til I'm numb,
Tell the devil I said, hey, when you get back to where you're from,
Mad women, bad women, that's just what you are, yeah,
You'll smile in my face then rip the brakes out my car.

Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash,
You tossed it in the trash, yes, you did,
To give me all your love is all I ever asked,
'Cause what you don't understand is.

I'd catch a grenade for you,
Throw my hand on a blade for you,
I'd jump in front of a train for you,
You know I'd do anything for you.

I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya, baby,
But you won't do the same.

If my body was on fire,
Ooh, you'd watch me burn down in flames,
You said you loved me, you're a liar,
'Cause you never, ever, ever did, baby.

But darling, I'd still catch a grenade for you,
Throw my hand on a blade for you,
I'd jump in front of a train for you,
You know I'd do anything for you.

I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for you, baby,
But you won't do the same.

No, you won't do the same,
You wouldn't do the same,
Ooh, you never do the same,
No, no, no, no.

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