Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Unorthodox Jukebox Review
Released in December 2012, Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox' album shouldn't be played in a rickety old DVD player which emits raucous mono sound as I had the mistake of doing! The songs came out awful, I shelved the CD in disappointment until days later when I found it under a heap in my room. But it sure was not a cheap trash! It says P450 on its label!
Mars’ sophomore album definitely deserved a second hearing if only for its tag. I took the CD out from the gorilla-by-the-jukebox covered case and plugged it in the Macbook on the bedside table. Then there was magic, an enchantment, a spell, a charm, a curse, a hex you thought only JK Rowling could conjure! From the first track to the tenth, all were songs that had the vibe and soul of a world, the only world I’ve known: from the 60s Michael Jackson Motown to the groovy 70s of Cool and the Gang to the reggae-by-the-beach of Bob Marley to the Umberto Tozzi’s late 70s rock (Am in love with this Italian, that’s what.) to the 80s Police’s Roxanne. It’s punk, it’s rock, it’s R&B, it’s reggae, thank God, no rap! No wonder there because Bruno Mars can sing anything including The Constitution, The Bible (All Editions), and of course, Randy Jackson’s Dictionary!
But note to parents, this album reeks of sex it has parental advisory stamped on it.
Be that as it may, here’s the track list and why I love it!
1. Young Girls
“All these roads steer me wrong/But I still drive them all night long, all night long/All you young wild girls/You make a mess of me/Yeah, you young wild girls/You'll be the death of me, the death of me.”
The mark of a Bruno Mars song is a story in its fabric, a mouthful of lyrics in the tradition of Meatloaf, Queen and yes, Air Supply! Not that memorizing them was an effort. Oh, no! They float with the melody that sticks to you like a plague, a nice kind of disease!
Young Girls acknowledges a sin and its repentance. (The sin part was from another review. The repentance part, totally mine.)
2. Locked Out of Heaven
“But swimming in your world is something spiritual/I'm born again every time you spend the night “ sounds like Freud’s “ I am Oedipus and I am going back to the womb” sexual longing. As Mars sings: “Cause your sex takes me to paradise/Yeah your sex takes me to paradise/And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah/Cause you make feel like, I've been locked out of heaven.”
This Roxanne-inspired number goes far into the metaphor begging “Open up your gates cause I can't wait to see the light/And right there is where I wanna stay.”
Consciously or subconsciously, Mars and company know their Freud, De Beauvoir, and Sophocles!
And comes more sex.
“Look what you're doing, look what you've done/But in this jungle you can't run/Cause what I got for you/I promise is a killer, you'll be banging on my chest/Bang bang, gorilla.”
It is the rock vibe that fills an auditorium like a surging orgasm. The Umberto Tozzi’s “Ti Amo” magic that hooked me from the back of my navel like the sensation of an apparition spell in Harry Potter. (Note to readers: I am on a fresh journey with Stephen Fry with the seven Harry Potter audiobooks as I write.)
“I bet you never ever felt so good, so good/I got your body trembling like it should, it should/You'll never be the same baby once I'm done with you/Oh you with me, baby, making love like gorillas/You and me, baby, we'll be f-ckin' it like gorillas/You and me, baby, making love like gorillas.”
The same guy who came out with Cee Lo Green’s monumental 2010 “F**k You” hit, Bruno Mars couldn’t be persuaded to not call spade a spade.
In the tradition of “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars sings an ode to the ladies:
“I know that you don’t know it, but you're fine, so fine/Oh girl I’m gonna show you when you're mine, oh mine/Treasure, that means what you are/Honey you're my golden star/I know you can make my wish come true/If you let me treasure you.”
Sounds Motown. Sounds like Cool and the Gang Meets New Edition with Bobby Brown. The lyrics high-schoolish, but what writer hadn’t gone through it?
Here is where I forgive Bruno. But this one’s better than “Count On Me.”
A couple of weeks ago, I caught Notting Hill on HBO and yes, did watch it for the 8957367th time. This song’s opening could have very well been William's reply to Anna Scott in this after sex dialogue:
Anna: Rita Hayworth used to say, "They go to bed with Gilda, they wake up with me."
William: Who's Gilda?
Anna: Her most famous part. Men went to bed with the dream, they didn't like it when they'd wake up with the reality. Do you feel that way?
“Hello, you know you look even better/Than the way you did the night before/And the moment that you kissed my lips/You know I start to feel wonderful/It's something incredible/There's sex in your chemicals/Ooh, let's go, you're the best way/I know to escape the extraordinary.”
6. When I Was Your Man
Need I say more?
I’d like to think that this song is an allegory to his arrest for cocaine possession in 2010.
“Oh, I never done this before
Never wanna do this again
Long turn on a dusty road
I did it too much so I cant pretend
“Well, I learned just a little too late
Good God, I must've been blind
'Cause she got me for everything
Everything, everything, alright
“Like my daddy I'm a gambling man
Never been afraid to roll the dice
But when I put my bet on her
Little miss snake eyes ruined my life.”
His revenge was that of a phoenix coming back to life after a fatal fall. He has learned his lesson and paid the price.
8. Show Me
It’s reggae, it’s tropical, it’s sexual. Instead of saying “F**k me," he sings “Show me.”
“Your eyes say amazing but your lips came to ask/No need to fight it, when you know it feels alright/You say you're a woman who knows what she likes/Then show me, you gotta, you gotta show me/And tell me all day that you're lonely/But show me show me, show me tonight, yeah.”
A perfect Boracay song, this should come with a couple of tequila shots leading to a dance of lust.
9. Money Makes Her Smile
Musically this is my favorite song from the album, tied with Gorilla. I just dislike the thought that it is also a perfect strip club anthem. It is one those songs a girl could dance to herself in the mirror, door and windows closed.
This one makes Bruno the boss!
“It's not complicated, so this won’t take a while/You see music make her dance, and money money money make her smile/Money money money make her smile.”
10. If I Knew
This is one song that our mothers would fall in love with. Old school, crude and return to innocence.
“Baby I, I wish we were seventeen/So I could give you all the innocence/That you gave to me, no, I wouldn't have done/All the things that I have done/If I knew one day you would come.”
Posted by Yaw Lee