We dug this new Unorthodox Jukebox cut as Bruno Mars performed it on Saturday Night Live. He stripped the band down to not much more than keys and a few back-up singers, and then he sang so hard that sweat began to bead on his forehead. It was languid and emotional and convincing — Bruno Mars, so teased and tormented by those titular “Young Girls” that his neck muscles flex just singing about them. It was a great performance, but because he can’t press that sweat and blood into the actual album, he had to mix things up a bit for this newly released studio version. And to no one’s surprise, we like this version just as much.
It’s much more lively, backed by a thumping 808 drum and a twinkle of snyth, probably because it’s meant to open the album. And in that same vein, it makes for an interesting declaration of intent for Mars. A few beats before the chorus hits, he’s joined by a Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers-style doo-wop harmony, but only for those few beats before they get zapped away by a coil of synth so that the chorus can really soar. It’s where his obsession with all things retro meets his perfectly contemporary sound, and it’s probably the part that will make those bright-eyed honeys go wild, too.