In anticipation of it’s December 11th release, Bruno Mars has been leaking one song at a time off of Unorthodox Jukebox. So far what we’ve heard has been diverse — “Young Girls”‘s doo-woop, “Moonshine” with it’s 80’s sheen and his Sting-cribbing “Locked Out Of Heaven” so far included — but generally joyous. This latest song is different in that it catches Mars at his most mournful and with his head hung low, and he was so nervous to share that he prefaced it with a tweet admitting that “I’ve never been this nervous. Can’t explain it.” The song is (of course!) pretty good and so he won’t have to, but we can definitely imagine the nerve it must take to let a song so raw and regretful as this out into the world.
Mars sounds so heartbroken on “When I Was Your Man,” a lazy piano ballad about a girl he wishes he had treated better. “Take you to every party because all you wanted to do was dance / now my baby’s dancing, but she’s dancing with another man,” he laments, blaming his pride, his ego and his selfish ways for losing “a good strong women like you.” It’s never easy to admit fault, and to do so in a song that’s so charged and sure to be inescapable — if it’s a hit, it may be played every hour on the hour on the radio, or picked up for a favorite television show or for an on-repeat commercial spot — must be downright horrifying.
And so we might think about pitying him, but not everybody is blessed with a set of pipes like Mars, and heartbreak sounds pretty good on him. So it seems only fair that he have to work these things out through ballads that we might play loud when we need to drown out a particularly dour day, don’t you think?