Summary

Bruno Mars' debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, made the talented singer/writer/producer into a star, racking up hit singles, hosting Saturday Night Live, and becoming something of a romantic icon thanks to loverman anthems like "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade." His second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, hints at a turbulent love life (songs like "Young Girls" and "Money Make Her Smile" give the impression that Mars' opinion of the opposite sex may have taken a nosedive recently), but many of the songs retain the easygoing charm of Doo-Wops, especially the lilting reggae come-on "Show Me" and the MJ-inspired disco jam "Treasure." At his best, like on the single "Locked Out of Heaven," which sounds like a breezy mashup of "Beat It," the Police, and Dire Straits, Mars' light vocal delivery and way with a hook are quite appealing, and thanks to production help from heavy-hitters like Mark Ronson, Diplo, Emile Haynie, and his own crew, the Smeezingtons, the album sound is clean and punchy. ~ Tim Sendra