December 11, 2012
Funk, New Wave
Unorthodox Jukebox is the second studio album released by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars on December 11, 2012, via Atlantic Records. Its first single, 'Locked out of Heaven', was released on October 1, 2012 to much postitive anticipation.
Background and developmentEdit
Mars confirmed on Twitter in January 2012 that work on his second album had begun. On March 22, 2012, it was announced that Mars had signed a worldwide publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis. Mars told Billboard in their October 2012 issue that his second album would be entitled Unorthodox Jukebox, and that it would be released on December 10, 2012. Mars also announced that the lead single would be called "Locked Out of Heaven", which was released on October 1, 2012. The album includes production from Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Diplo and Supa Dups, as well as the Smeezingtons, Mars' three-man songwriting and production team. He notes that the album will be more musically varied and refuses to "pick a lane". He has also been in studio with Benny Blanco and Paul Epworth producing a track for the new album, as he Blanco says "I got a really cool song with him. Me and Paul [Epworth] just got together and Bruno wrote an amazing song on top of it. It kind of all came together. In what concerns that track, Blanco tells that ""It's like some throwback Nina Simone type shit, like 'Sinnerman." However, it's unknown if they will be featured on Mars sophomore album.
Theme and compostitionEdit
Mars stated in an interview with Billboard: ""This is me going into the studio and recording and writing whatever I want. This album represents my freedom. I've had big record label presidents look me in the face and say, 'Your music sucks, you don't know who you are, your music is all over the place, and we don't know how to market this stuff. Pick a lane and come back to us. That was disgusting to me, because I'm not trying to be a circus act. I listen to a lot of music, and I want to have the freedom and luxury to walk into a studio and say, 'Today I want to do a hip-hop, R&B, soul or rock record.'
Release and promotionEdit
"Locked Out of Heaven" was released as the lead single from the album on October 1, 2012. It has been described as having strong influences of New Wave, with striking resemblances to "Message in a Bottle" and "Roxanne" by The Police, The Romantics' "Talking in Your Sleep", and even Michael Jackson's "Beat It", while some have mildly referenced it to The Outfield's "Your Love".
Unorthodox Jukebox received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 13 reviews. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone felt that its "bombast" is "the stuff of great pop" and called it "a record that makes the competition sound sad and idea-starved by comparison." Matt Cibula of PopMatters complimented its hooks and found the album to be "sung and arranged just as perfectly as his earlier work ... a truly accomplished and slick pop album". Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly commented that "his talent for crafting little pop perfections of all stripes is undeniable". Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called its songs "exceptionally drawn and lush".
Dan Hyman of Spin called the album "utterly engaging" and felt that Mars' lyrics "get a desperately needed kick in the pants". BBC Music's Matthew Horton found the album "appealing, generally engaging and all shot through with the confidence of a man who must feel he's got the hit parade Midas touch." Jason Lipshutz of Billboard viewed that the album "succeeds in mixing its safer stylistic choices with its relatively bold ideas." Ryan Reed of Paste commented that Mars "still plays the sweetheart card well, but he's proven himself way more interesting as a badass." Although she felt that Mars "remains a cipher", Kitty Empire of The Observer observed "a little more hooliganism" than on his first album and felt that, "despite its title, [it] deserves your grudging respect".
In a mixed review, Allmusic's Tim Sendra criticized Mars as an "icky hater" and wrote that his "opinion of the opposite sex seems to have taken a nosedive" after "being a sweet romancer" on his first album. Andy Gill of The Independent felt that, "although Bruno Mars is a talented chap, he's forced to demean his abilities by echoing other artists' former glories" on the album. Slant Magazine's was similarly ambivalent towards Mars' "variety-show mimicry" and viewed his "workmanlike" singing as both a "minor limitation" and "the key to his appeal", ultimately calling the album "a reasonably listenable exercise in genre fetishization." Tony Clayton-Lea of The Irish Times wrote that its song "may be in serious hock to their sources, but Mars has a snappy way with rhythms and rhymes. No killer, then, but no filler, either."
The tracklisting of the album was confirmed on September 28, 2012, via Digital Spy.
|1.||"Young Girls"||Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie||The Smeezingtons, Jeff Bhasker, Emily Haynie||3:49|
|2.||"Locked Out of Heaven"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Mark Ronson, Bhasker, Haynie||The Smeezingtons, Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emiley Haynie||3:54|
|3.||"Gorilla"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine||Diplo||4:04|
|4.||"Treasure"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Phredley Brown||The Smeezingtons||2:59|
|5.||"Moonshine"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Bhasker, Andrew Wyatt, Ronson||The Smeezingtons, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Wyatt||3:49|
|6.||"When I Was Your Man"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Wyatt||The Smeezingtons||3:34|
|7.||"Natalie"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Paul Epworth, Benny Blanco||The Smeezingtons||3:45|
|8.||"Show Me"||Mars, Onika Maraj (aka Nicki Minaj), Lawrence, Levine, Dwayne Chin-Quee, Mitchum Chin||The Smeezingtons||3:28|
|9.||"Money Make Her Smile"||Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Diplo||The Smeezingtons||3:24|
|10.||"If I Knew"||The Smeezingtons||2:13|
Target bonus tracks
|11.||"Old & Crazy" (featuring Esperanza Spalding)||Spalding, Bhasker, Haynie, Mars, Lawrence, Levine||The Smeezingtons, Bhasker, Haynie|
|Germany||December 7, 2012||Atlantic||Digital download, CD, LP|
|Worldwide||December 10, 2012|
|United States||December 11, 2012|