Doo-Wops and Hooligans Bruno Mars (CD)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 February, 2011, 12:00am

As a Hawaiian, Bruno Mars could have filled his debut with Jack Johnson-like ukulele melodies and island vibes. But the 25-year-old has greater ambitions. Having written and produced for fellow 2011 Grammy nominees Cee-Lo Green and B.o.B, he knows his skills. He has filled Doo-Wops and Hooligans with a range of genres.

He kicks off with Grenade, a dance floor-filler that describes the lengths he would go to for his unworthy love interest. His scratchy, begging voice works well here, and throughout the album, it is well-balanced by layers of piano, drums and synth.

Lead single Just the Way You Are has been nominated for this year's Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy - and with good reason. It's a feel-good track when it comes to both melody and theme.

Runaway Baby is an uptempo rock song that could have come from the N.E.R.D. studio - it's funky and fast with a dirty bassline and an OutKast-like chorus.

Bruno experiments with reggae on the melancholy Liquor Store Blues, with some help from Damian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob.

Aside from the overly slushy Marry You and The Lazy Song, which would've been better coming from Jason Mraz, this is an excellent, if short, debut that hints at greatness yet to come.