Mars Attacks

Bruno Mars burst onto the scene through two hit singles that weren’t his. He was merely a featured artist on “Nothin’ On You” and “Billionaire.” I think the lead artists on those tracks, B.o.B and Travie McCoy, are likely to be forgotten while Mars has the potential to be a megastar. The short clips from his solo debut, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” that I heard on “Fresh Air” on Tuesday inspired me to listen to the whole album over the weekend.

It’s been some time since I cared to listen to an album all the way through. I think we may have still used these things that we called “compact discs” back then. Yesterday, I listened to “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” on two of my devices, the MP3 player I received in 2008 and the WiFi clock radio I received in 2009. It was an easy process to upload the files to my locker at MP3tunes.com and then stream them on my radio.

I had already been impressed by the single “Just the Way You Are,” which rocketed to the top of the charts. Most of the other songs are fantastic too. Mars has a voice that glides effortlessly through the notes that he sings and through an assortment of pop-music styles. The next single will probably be “Grenade,” which puts a slightly more graphic spin on the I-would-die-for-you theme that has been around for ages.

If he doesn’t blow it (pun intended), Mars could rule the top-40 charts for years to come. My least favorite song on the album makes me think of his arrest in Las Vegas last month. A duet with Damian Marley called “Liquor Store Blues” has a typical reggae sound that doesn’t appeal to me. In it, Mars sings: “get messed up today, I’ll be okay tomorrow.” The lyrics have the unfortunate effect of lowering my hopes and expectations for Bruno’s career.

In addition to “Just the Way You Are,” my favorite tracks are the bouncy “Runaway Baby” and “Marry You.” In one song he tells his girl to leave, in the other he proposes an elopement. The video for “Just the Way You Are” is pretty cool and worth a look you haven’t seen it.

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