Top 10 Bruno Mars Songs
Bruno Mars songs are such a staple on the radio nowadays, that it’s hard to believe the crooner only broke through in 2010 with the sunny ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans.’ He followed it with the darker, seedier ‘Unorthodox Jukebox,’ marking a departure from his typical radio-friendly fare … while still getting a ton of airplay.
Part of what makes Mars so remarkable is his versatility: He can play about any instrument on the planet, and he bends, twists and molds any genre, tempo or style and still sounds uniquely Bruno. That level of distinction is particularly impressive when you realize that part of what got him into music was impersonating someone else — Elvis!
Mars makes no qualms about borrowing from other iconic artists within his own work — think the Police on ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ or MJ on ‘Treasure’ — because he puts his own spin on everything he records, preventing any Bruno Mars songs from sounding like imitations. Because above all else, Mars really is an original. So, why’s he always being compared to the greats? Easy. He’s well on his way to becoming one. In honor of the soon-to-be icon, check out our picks for the Top 10 Bruno Mars Songs.
‘Liquor Store Blues’
The singer-songwriter embraces his reggae roots on this top Bruno Mars song, released as a promotional digital single from ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans.’ He’s joined by none other than reggae master Damian Marley himself. Considering lots of people have to wait years to record with any of the Marleys, having one of the reggae reigning king’s heirs on his debut album is a huge testament to Mars’ talent and musical credibility. Plus, the song is just a fun ode to living hard in hard times. When he sings, “One shot for my pain,” yours goes away.
Poor Bruno is stuck in a toxic relationship with a girl who couldn’t care less about him on ‘Grenade.’ The midtempo beat, the masterful melody and his heartwrenching wails like, “I’d jump in front of a train for ya,” paint a vivid picture of a lovelorn man, but the best lyric seems like an aside for the singer: “Tell the Devil I said ‘hey’ when you get back to where you’re from.” How ’bout some aloe for that (hellfire) burn, girlfriend?
‘Money Make Her Smile’
Mr. Mars may come off as a gentleman, but even gentlemen love, uh, gentlemen’s clubs. In his ode to strippers, he sings, “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 Make Her Smile’ sort of gives his ballad ‘It Will Rain’ a fun new twist too, doesn’t it?
He may have gained notoriety as a tyke for impersonating the King himself, Elvis, but on ‘Treasure,’ Bruno Mars is doing his best classic King of Pop. Channeling ’80s Michael Jackson, Mars croons come-ons to a lovely lady on this gem from ‘Unorthodox Jukebox,’ ranking at No. 7 on our list of top Bruno Mars songs. Who else but the dreamy, smooth-talkin’ Bruno could tell a girl “You’re my golden star” and have it actually work?
Pianos, synths and soaring vocals combine to create a self-aware ballad with ‘Young Girls.’ It’s just as much about Bruno’s seemingly heartwrenching love life as it is about the trappings of fame: “Love don’t exist when you live like this / That much I know / I know / All these roads steer me wrong / But I’ll still drive them all night long.” Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward rehabilitation. But if the problem keeps inspiring songs like this, we don’t want Mars to fix himself. Ever.
Bruno embraces his roots on ‘Show Me,’ which features island-inspired production and reggae-tinged vocals. This sort of sounds like a UB40 song, and we mean that in the absolute best way. Somehow, in his usual way, Mars makes pickup lines, that would be creepy coming from anyone else, sound endearing (think “Pleasure Island” references and “We can take it slow / Or we can zoom-zoom-zoom“).
In case you thought Bruno Mars’ emotions only ranged from amorous and adoring to heartbroken, you’re wrong: He also gets angry. Really angry. On ‘Natalie,’ Mars lashes out at a gold digger: “No matter which way you go / Payback’s gonna come your way / You’ll be begging me please please please / And I’ll look at you and laugh laugh laugh,” he wails, adding “I’ll spend a lifetime in jail / I’ll be smilin’ in my cell.” Scary? Yes. But awesome? Yes. Yes. Yes.
‘Just the Way You Are’
Truthfully, this classic Bruno track would have ranked higher, except that it gives needy girls everywhere yet another reason to fish for compliments from their significant others, and that’s really annoying. It’s a good thing Bruno made it sound so, so beautiful, though. And let’s be honest, if a girl still feels ugly after hearing this, there is probably no pleasing her, so run for the hills.
‘Locked Out of Heaven’
The crooner channels the Police — and proudly — on ‘Locked Out of Heaven,’ in which he begs his girl to let him stay the night. This Bruno Mars song is sexy but not explicit, catchy but not overproduced, raw but polished. The track was the perfect introduction to the next era of Mars’ music following ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans,’ establishing that there’s a lot more to him than just piano ballads and monkey masks.
‘It Will Rain’
If you can set aside the stigma associated with ‘Twilight,’ ‘It Will Rain’ is one of the most stunning ballads in recent memory. The production, the wrong-side-of-the-tracks message, the desperation in Mars’ voice and the urgency with which he uses it cement why he’s a star: He makes you believe everything he sings, and he sings everything beautifully … even when he sings about morphine drips.