It's been almost four years since Bruno Mars dropped an album. (Though it may not seem quite that long since he was the main voice of Mark Ronson's smash hit "Uptown Funk" in 2014.)
Sonically speaking, he's increasingly mining a throwback vibe, mimicking the likes of Prince and James Brown in songs that have a deeper, old-school R&B groove than his last effort (2012's Unorthodox Jukebox).
Thematically, though, there's still only one thing on Mars' mind.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
"Too Good to Say Goodbye" is the only track that doesn't focus on sex and/or partying. Here, Mars practically begs a woman who's apparently leaving him to give him another chance: "This can't be how our story ends," he tells her. "You're more than my girl, you're my best friend." Elsewhere in that track, he says, "I pray it's never too late," and, "If we're gonna fight this fight for better days/I know were' gonna make it."
"Finesse" includes an isolated couplet encouraging lifetime commitment ("Fellas, grab your ladies if your lady fine/Tell her she the one, she the one for life"). "Chunky" gives an approving nod to financially stable women ("Shout out to the girls that pay they rent on time").
Sex is the main subject on the majority of this album's nine songs. "Chunky" and "Perm" sing the praises of hooking up with overweight women. The former says, "Girl, you got what I need (I got what you need)/37-27-42/Ooh, squeeze all of that into my coupe." The latter says, "Don't be stingy with your big ol' butt/You got a booty like/Whoa, wait a minute/ … You need to activate your sexy." Elsewhere in "Perm," Mars lets us know that he's not really looking for love with this woman: "Come on, baby, I love you/No, you don't/You never know, though."
Perhaps the most objectifying moment on the album comes on "Calling All My Lovelies," where Mars brazenly makes fun of the names of the women he casually sleeps with. "I got Alicia waitin', Aisha waitin'/All the -eeshas waitin' on me." Later, we find out that the woman Mars is trying to hook up with is actress Halle Berry (whose voicemail message we allegedly hear when the singer calls her).
More backside praise gets dished in the alcohol-sodden "Straight Up & Down": "This liquor got both of us faded/So gone, so gone, so gone/But your booty deserve a celebration/And I'm gonna celebrate it all night long." Ogling fills "Finesse" as well.
"That's What I Like" basically promises an opulent lifestyle in exchange for sex (dropping stripper jargon in the process): "Baby girl, what's happening?/You and you're a-- invited/ … Turn around and drop it for a pimp/ … Gold jewelry shining so bright/Strawberry champagne on ice/ … Sex by the fire at night/Silk sheets and diamonds all white." Likewise, "Versace" finds Mars striving to get his date out of her expensive dress as soon as possible. "Ooh, I love that dress/But you won't need it anymore/ … Let's just kiss 'til we're naked baby/Versace on the floor."
Profanities that turn up on six tracks include the s-word, "a--," "h---" and "d--n
One song and one lyric on this breezy nine-track effort suggest that Bruno Mars is interested in a real relationship with someone. The rest of the time, it's all about sex. Bruno shamelessly woos women with his wealth even as he mocks their names and their weight. But Mr. Mars isn't much concerned with how the ladies he seeks to seduce might actually feel about his leering objectification. Instead he simply tells them (on "Chunky"), "If you ain't here to party, take your a-- back home."