Monday, October 11, 2010
Album Review: Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (3.5/5)
American singer/songwriter Bruno Mars' has had a nothing short of a stellar year so far, lending his vocals to two of the years biggest hits (B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire"). Similar to Canadian rapper Drake, I'm more impressed with the hype surrounding his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans than the album itself.
The album lays on a thick slab of pop underlined with hints of Caribbean and reggae inspired flavor. But with only a short 10 track set, there's only a handful of stunners whilst the rest lack any sort of grip.
Opening track "Grenade," lays down the heavy beats, synths and a layer of soundscape, while following popular chart smash "Just the Way You Are," sounds just alluring as ever, with its heart-tingling tuneful piano backing and bass line. The melodic upbeat rock of "Runaway Baby" re-calls the same rock of Maroon 5. I like this one a lot too.
Whilst I do enjoy how the albums mid-section discharges a cooling laid back vibrance with temperate Caribbean flavored tracks such as "Our First Time," a laggard mid tempo, opening with the seductive lyric ("don't it feel good baby?") and the more upbeat percussion-driven "The Lazy Song" featuring more blunt lyrics ("meet a really nice girl, have some really nice sex") the sounds doesn't work as well with "Liquor Store Blues" with Damien Marley. I don't particularly care for "Marry You," either, which is ultimately nothing more than a "Just the Way You Are" re-hash.
Tracks towards the end are particularly better, I love the stern piano sanctioned balladry of "Talking to the Moon." Mars' delivery sound more sincere than on "Just the Way You Are." "Count On Me," is another ballad but with simpler lyrics, more restraint composition whittled down to just an acoustic guitar and percussion. The album ends with "The Other Side," featuring Cee Lo Green and B.o.B, showcasing some appealing old fashioned energetic funk/pop.
Admittedly, I did like this more when I listened to it last week, but a couple listens through and I wasn't feeling it as much. It's run time is only 30 minutes long but not enough solid tracks to back it up, and where it does fall short is its flimsy mid-section--which is kind of weird considering it's because of its lighthearted stance, why I liked this album to begin with. But in all, it's not a bad effort, just not as solid as I had hoped.
Best: Just the Way You Are, Talking to the Moon, Runaway Baby, The Other Side, Count On Me