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A bit of the Unorthodox is what we needed: Bruno Mars review

Dan Hallman, Associated Press

In an age of autotune, “singing” rappers, and studio acts, as a vocalist and musician, I along with many others have long been waiting for a return to good ol’ fashioned music, and songwriting. I can surely appreciate some of the techno infused mainstream music, after all I AM an 80s baby that grew up on house music. However there’s nothing like actual instruments and a band playing behind an awesome singer.

Enter Grammy Award winning Boricua/Filipino superstar Bruno Mars, with his latest, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” a title that completely fits the description of this amazing album. I say album, as I am of the 30 year “old” bracket and can actually still remember vinyl records and 45s (for you kids out there, they were those big black discs that used to go on record players, aka turntables, like the DJs used before laptops and digitized music made it easy for everyone)

Even rarer nowadays is for me to like every single track on an album, but since downloaded, I’ve had this on steady repeat (and am actually listening to it now as I write this on the subway).

Let’s review:

1) Young Girls

The second single, which he sang on SNL when he hosted. About a series of romances with women on the road of rock stardom, a unique ballad, a theme that recurs in other songs down the line.

2) Locked out of heaven

This catchy first single, that you cannot hear without walking away singing “OH YEAH YEAH… OH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH” after listening, feels like a cross between The Police & Hotel California.

3) Gorilla

This well orchestrated love song reminiscent of Prince “Purple Rain”, has a throwback 80s feel with a 2010s spin, complete with hash tag flow “Cuz what I got for ya, I promise it’s a killer, you’ll banging on my chest bang bang #gorilla.”

Atlantic Records

4) Treasure

Another 80s style throwback, with a Rick James/Tina Marie feel to it, that makes you wanna dance, complete with a call and response bridge, and an even hotter harmonic breakdown. “You are my treasure… You are my treasure… You are my treasure…  Yeah you, you, you, you are!” (Anyone who’s ever heard my music knows I’m a BIG fan of the breakdown).

5) Moonshine

The best way to describe this song is that it sounds like a metaphorical love affair with an intoxicating vice that elevates you to outer space “Moonshine take us to the stars tonight, take us to that special place, that place we went the last time…”

6) When I was your man

A more classic piano ballad and remorseful love song that rips through your heart at the thought of all the things you should have done to keep that love from going away.

7) Natalie

My absolute most favorite song on the entire album, about the aftermath of an affair with a “crazy gold digger named Natalie… She ran away with all my money!”

8) Show Me

Another one of those atypical love songs with a rasta twist, it wouldn’t be a Bruno album without some sort of reggae inspired jam. “Girl show me, you tell me all day that you’re lonely, then show me show me show me tonight”

9) Make her smile

This is a bad ass song, a little bit Dirty Diana (MJ), a little bit Heartless (Kanye… BEFORE the skirt)  “It’s not complicated so this won’t take awhile, ya see music make her dance, but money, money, money make her smile! (Watch her!)”

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10) If I knew

The last song on the Juke, another classic style love song, very much like a page out of Sam Cooke… If you’ve ever heard ‘Bring it on home to me’… then you know what I’m talking about.

Now if some of the aforementioned names, used in comparisons, totally escape you, you’ve got homework to do.

As for Mr. Hernandez, aka Mr. Mars, THANK YOU for revitalizing the digitally flooded airwaves and giving these youngins a much needed music history lesson!

I give Unorthodox Jukebox a 5/5.


About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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