Honolulu native Bruno Mars (né Peter Hernandez) has showered the galaxy of Pop Music like a Meteor with debut single Just the Way You Are reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart only recently - impressive by any measure for a new artist. His debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans although bizarre sounding, is v. fitting of the sound he has helmed for himself along with the likes of Claude Kelly (Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears) and Needlz (Drake, Young Jeezy). It is one part Hip-Hop Swagger and one part Melodic Crooner.
It would be redundant to reflect on the strength of that chart-topping debut single, but does Bruno Mars deliver on this concise ten-song collection? The answer is YES. In this day and age of forgettable Autotune-heavy releases, everything is there on this disc. A cut-above vocals, strong hooks, infectious rhythms and just enough production so that the audience never fails to lose focus of the star. If you think Just the Way You Are is solid, wait til you hear follow-up worthy Talking to the Moon, which should have the likes of Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) and Adam Levine (Maroon 5) feeling just a bit of that healthy competitive envy.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans is stuck perpetually in Summertime, heavy on the Island influence with tracks like Liquor Store Blues (ft. Damian Marley) and the sensually nostalgic Our First Time. And what is most wonderful is that Mars is proud of his roots and we can hear him pay homage to this on tracks like Count on Me. The excellent Cee-Lo and red-hot B.o.B. drop by even for a visit on the album's closer The Other Side, adding a bit of substance to the big picture.
Bruno Mars' Doo Wops & Hooligans from Warner Music is in stores October 5, 2010 and it's more than just your average R&B/Urban-Pop romp. Freshness. Grade: A-