“Moonshine,” the latest song to leak off Bruno Mars‘ Unorthodox Jukebox, which is out December 11th, comes complete with disco drums and a trendy, YOLO-style “We are not afraid to die young and live fast” interlude. And like he did with Sting for “Locked Out Of Heaven” and with doo-wop for “Young Girls,” “Moonshine” finds Mars grooving on the vibes of a musical god past: Michael Jackson.
“You’re the best way I know to escape the extraordinary,” Mars croons, before pivoting to seek a favor of the lunar gods: “Moonshine, you lovin’ makes me come alive/Take us to that special place/ That place we went last time.” Between this and Rihanna‘s “Diamonds,” ’tis the season for moonshine magic.
Few movies in recent memory have been so good at integrating popular music into their soundtracks as the Twilight saga has been. The soundtracks — complete with up-and-comers like Sea Wolf as well as old pro’s like Thom Yorke — have true and through become a part of the vampire love story that has so gripped America’s teenagers (and, you know, us) by the heart. And so with the Saga drawing to a close tonight, we thought we would revisit some of our favorite musical moments from throughout the series.
We dug this new Unorthodox Jukebox cut as Bruno Marsperformed it onSaturday 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. Read more…
Bruno Mars put in extra-overtime on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, hosting and performing. Mars isn’t the first to pull this double duty — Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger and Justin Timberlake, in most recent memory — but he may have been the first to host, perform and to still have the energy to debut a brand new song all in the same episode. How’s that for efficiency?
The new Unorthodox Jukebox cut Mars performed is called “Young Wild Girls,” an emotional ballad about the bad girls that Mars just can’t quit. “Oh you young wild girls, you make a mess of me,” goes the hook. And then when the camera gets close, you can see the strain of the veins in his neck and the sweat beginning to bead on his forehead because this love for these young wild girls is nothing short of dire: “Yeah you young wild girls, you’ll be the death of me.”
Earlier this month, Bruno Mars dropped “Locked Out Of Heaven” and gave us just a little taste of what might be so unorthodox about his much-anticipated sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox. The catchy first single just oozed Police, something we haven’t exactly come to expect from the former Elvis impersonator and “Grenade” thrower, but Mars’ Sting turned out to be so good that we listened to the song for days straight. Will the rest of the album be so surprising and sweet?
Speaking with VH1′s Carrie Keagan this morning on VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live, the ever charming Mars more or less promised as much. He assured that there will “definitely” be something to jam to in “every scenario,” because the album was born from his broad experience working as a producer. “As a producer,” he explains, “I’ve written a lot of songs for a lot of different artists and all different kinds of styles — R&B, hip hop, rock — and I feel like when it’s time for me to do my own personal stuff, everything I’ve ever learned trickles down into my music. Which makes me a little unorthodox.” Read more…
Bruno Mars stepped out of the songwriting shadows and into the spotlight in a big way with his 2010 solo debut, Doo-Wops And Hooligans, an album that spawned two #1 singles (“Just The Way You Are” and “Grenade”), sold a few million copies worldwide and earned Mars eight Grammy nominations (including a win for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance). The album was a highly entertaining mélange of styles and sounds, which ran the gamut from bombastic ballads (like “Grenade”) to Motown-leaning tracks (“Just The Way You Are”) to crazy catchy lite reggae dittys (see “The Lazy Song”).
The song is clearly inspired by Outlandos d’Amour-era Police as, on first listen, we thought we were listening to the group’s stone classic, “Roxanne.” A clipped, almost staccato Andy Summers-ian guitar tone that’s paired up with a very Sting-like bassline provide the backbone for the song, but the song’s production is very of-the-moment*. The song’s structure is flawless, too, as we have come to expect from Bruno Mars; the verses are emotional, the bridge (“Your sex takes me to paradise”) provides the build, and the song pays off in a killer chorus (“You make me feel like I’ve been locked out of paradise/For too long-ong-ong”). We’re gonna have this one On Repeat all day and, if history is any indication, for the next few months to come.
It doesn’t matter if Kelly Clarkson were to sing the phone book. We’d want to hear it. When Clarkson put out the call to fans asking what songs they’d like her to cover the online requests flooded in. The Stronger tour that ended in April produced amazing covers of an array of musical genres. And like the great vocalist she is, Clarkson showed her range nailing everything from the Rolling Stones‘ “Wild Horses” to Bruno Mars‘ “It Will Rain.” When the tour ended our sad faces began, but luckily for us her Summer 2012 tour with The Fray has reignited the covers we were so obsessed with. Because we know you love the covers as much as we do, we’ve chosen the best five covers from Kelly Clarkson’s tour and concerts this year. Enjoy! Read more…
Continuing on with our Grammys predictions, we’re now ready to discuss the Album Of The Year category (after previously taking on the Best New Artist and Record Of The Year noms). So far, we’ve surmised that the Grammys are going to be the Adele show — the breakthrough artist is more than likely to walk away with a whole army of new statues to add to an already thriving collection. So again, we’re going to pretend for a moment that the other nominees have a chance of scoring Album Of The Year over Adele, and talk about what that would be like.
Adele – 21
Yeah we get it, after all the industry and audience accolades Adele won for 21 last year, which sold 5.82 million copies, it would be an absolute upset if she didn’t walk away with at least album of the year. But in the interests of the rest of this article, let’s pretend she’s not going to win and everyone else has a fighting chance.
Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans
While Bruno Mars didn’t make it into the top 10 in album sales last year, Doo-Wops & Hooligans was still considered a fan and critic favorite, although as far as winning over Adele, might not be the likeliest candidate, although makes a close second to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.
Ah, the Grammys! The conversation, the speculation, the anxiety! We’re gearing up to this Sunday’s awards ceremony the same way that we’re sure the rest of North America is — putting our tips on who we think will be a winner. Yesterday, we gave our opinion on who would take home the Best New Artist award, but today we’re wondering about Record Of The Year. With Adele nominated in the category, it would seem that no one is safe, but we know stranger things have happened, so let’s pretend for a second that the “Rolling In The Deep” singer isn’t a shoo in, and weigh up the odds on the other contenders.
Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Look, let’s just pretend Adele isn’t going to win everything at the Grammys — because the alternative is that we succumb to the fact that she’s going to win everything and that’s just no fun because it doesn’t give anyone else a fighting chance. Realistically though, “Rolling In The Deep” dominated the number one chart position last year and was a very clear favorite with critics and fans. Yeah, who are we kidding — it’s going to be really strange if “Rolling In The Deep” doesn’t win.
Bon Iver – “Holocene”
If Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon hadn’t stuck both his middle fingers up at the Grammys we would have said “Holocene” was the best bet for usurping the “Rolling In The Deep” throne. Like “Rolling In The Deep,” “Holocene” found its way to the top of almost everyone’s best of 2011 list, so who knows — maybe “Holocene” will be the song to strip Adele of her crown.