Doo-Wops & Hooligans

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Doo-Wops & Hooligans
The silhouette of a rocket is shown flying away through a yellow background, leaving behind a trail on which the silhouette of a fedora-wearing man is walking. The words "Bruno Mars", in beige capital font, and "Doo-Wops & Hooligans", in lower case black font, are printed to the right.
Studio album by Bruno Mars
Released October 4, 2010 (2010-10-04)
Recorded Larrabee Recording Studios, Levcon Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre Pop, pop rock, R&B, reggae fusion[1]
Length 35:20
Label Atlantic, Elektra
Producer Needlz, The Smeezingtons, The Supa Dups, Jeff Bhasker
Bruno Mars chronology
Doo-Wops & Hooligans
(2010)
Unorthodox Jukebox
(2012)
Singles from Doo-Wops & Hooligans
  1. "Just the Way You Are"
    Released: July 20, 2010 (2010-07-20)
  2. "Grenade"
    Released: September 28, 2010 (2010-09-28)
  3. "The Lazy Song"
    Released: February 15, 2011 (2011-02-15)
  4. "Marry You"
    Released: August 22, 2011 (2011-08-22)

Doo-Wops & Hooligans is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, released on October 4, 2010. Mars' writing and production team The Smeezingtons were credited with writing all songs and serve as the album's executive producers. The album's title refers to doo-wop music and was chosen to reflect simplicity, as well as appeal to both males and females.

Two digital singles—"Liquor Store Blues" featuring Damian Marley and "Grenade"—were released to promote the album. Lead single "Just the Way You Are" was released on December 14, 2009, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks, going on to become an international top ten hit. "Grenade" was later announced as the second single, and has charted in the top ten in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, as well as becoming his second consecutive number one in the US and UK. "The Lazy Song" was released as the third official single from the album in Spring 2011, peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 and becoming his third consecutive number one single in the UK as a solo artist.

Doo-Wops & Hooligans charted at number three on the Billboard 200 and in the top ten of music charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. The usage of a wide variety of influences was noted by critics, with musical comparisons made to Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz and Little Richard.[2] The album received a total of seven nominations for the Grammy Awards in 2011 and 2012 including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.[3] Mars embarked on a US headlining tour throughout November and December 2010 to promote the album. Doo-Wops & Hooligans was announced the third biggest-selling album of 2011 in the UK, selling approximately 1,214,420 copies.[4] The album has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.[5]

Background and development[edit]

The release of Doo-Wops & Hooligans was announced in a press release on August 25, 2010, following the release of Mars' debut EP, It's Better If You Don't Understand, earlier in the year.[6] Speaking to MTV News, Mars said the EP gave a "nice effect of what's in store" for the album.[7] The album cover was officially released on August 30, 2010.[8] The official track listing was revealed by Atlantic Records on September 9, 2010.[9] Three of the four songs from It's Better If You Don't Understand are included on the album.[10]

On the title of the album, Mars said, "'Doo-wop' is a very special word for me. Because I grew up listening to my dad who, as a Fifties rock & roll head, loved doo-wop music... Plus doo wop songs come from a time back in the day when there were no TRICKS! You just needed a beautiful melody, you needed a beautiful voice, and you needed to CONNECT!... So the 'doo-wop' part is for the women!"[11]... But then because, on this album, I have records that women are going to relate to and men are going to relate to, the doo-wops are for the girls and hooligans are for the guys."[12] In addition, he told 4Music, "It explains the two sides of me. Doo-wop is a special form of music I grew up on. It's straight to the point, very simple. I have songs like that. ... I have that simple, romantic side of me but I'm also just a young, regular dude and that's like the hooligan side!"[13]

Fellow Smeezington Ari Levine confessed that they never met Needlz or Walton, who helped with the writing and production of the single "Just The Way You Are", they also never met Supa Dups who produced and wrote along with The Smeezingtons the promotional single "Liquor Store Blues" and the track "Our First Time". Since everything was done by "sending files to and fro".[14]

When he was asked about the writing credits of "The Other Side" he said the song was also written to somebody else’s track. "We redid the sounds and then added things on top of it. Then we found out that there were all these writers on the track, and we went OMG! In general, we find it easier to write songs to an existing track. We approach writing songs almost like remixes: anything can change at any point in time. There’s nothing set in stone."[14]

In addition, he confessed that "Talking to the Moon" is his favourite song from the album explaining that in the beginning they "only had the first verse and the horns, but we knew that it was great." In the midd time "We then had three different bridges and we spent a lot of time trying to find out which one was the best. Jeff Bhasker is a fantastic musician, and he helped write that track. I think we tried to arrange and produce this in four different ways, mostly trying to figure out what kind of drums to put on."[14]

Regarding the hit single "The Lazy Song", Ari explained the idea behind the track and how they came up with it "was a very tough song to write, even though it is so simple. That song began one day when we were hanging around the studio and hadn’t written a song for a few days and we were kind of burnt out and didn’t feel like working. We felt lazy. K’naan was in the studio with us, and the four of us suddenly came up with this idea. After that we had a really hard time getting the groove and the drums to sit right. Once you have one piece of the puzzle, like when you realise that a drum track is good, you can add other things in after that.”[14]

Mars confessed in an interview with Rap-Up that he dedicated a track to one of New York City’s five boroughs. “My dad is originally from Brooklyn,” Bruno states. “I think that everyone can agree that New York is a special place, so one song is called ‘Somewhere in Brooklyn.’ [The premise of that song is that] she’s somewhere in Brooklyn and I’m gonna find her.”[15]

When Philip Lawrence was asked about the single "Marry You" he said "When we were coming up with that song, we had this image of a slow-mo video in Vegas of a couple running, and she’s in her gown and he’s in his tux, the wedding party is behind them and everyone’s raging. This sort of crazy, daring, wedding feeling. It was more of a racy kind of idea, as opposed to this classic marriage tune it has become."[16]

Lawrence said that after the hit singles "Nothin' on You" and "Billionaire" the label told The Smeezingtons they had a lot of time to produce Bruno's first album. He added "but all of that went out the window when the demand changed." They called them and said "instead of six months you have one month to finish this album." He concludes: "So we were scrambling trying to finish the album, and I think “Grenade” was the last song we finished."[16]

Composition[edit]

Music and style[edit]

Primarily a pop album,[17][18][19][20] Doo-Wops and Hooligans was noted by music writers for its diverse variety of influences. Certain songs on the album contain elements rock,[21] reggae,[21] R&B,[22] soul,[19] and hip hop.[23] Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe denoted "bright melodies" and "smooth pop" in the album's music.[24] The Guardian '​s Alexis Petridis noted "takes on Michael Jacksonish pop soul, Coldplay-style arena rock and a stab at 1960s R&B", but added that the album's "default setting" is "acoustic pop-reggae" and recalls Mars' contribution to Travie McCoy's Billionaire", with "laid-back soft rock, with gentle reggae inflections, hang-loose sentiments and all."[25] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that Mars has "a light, soul-influenced voice that's an easy fit in a range of styles", and that he and The Smeezingtons have "a firm grip on the full spectrum of black pop, and white pop as well."[23] Music journalist Jody Rosen commented that the album's songs "move from power ballads to bedroom anthems to pop-reggae".[20]

Mars' sound has drawn comparisons to Michael Jackson[22][26][27][28]—especially the album's "atmospheric" opener "Grenade" to "Dirty Diana"[19][29]—as well as to Jason Mraz.[23][27][30] Other comparisons in style and sound made include "Grenade" to Kanye West[23] and Shakira,[31] "Just the Way You Are" to U2,[23] "Our First Time" to "Boyz II Men"[32] and singer-songwriters D'Angelo,[21] Al B. Sure!,[19] and Sade,[23] "Runaway Baby" to Little Richard,[23] "The Lazy Song" to Sugar Ray,[22] "Marry You" to Coldplay,[23] "Liquor Store Blues" to Bedouin Soundclash,[28] and "Count On Me" to Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.[33]

Lyrical themes[edit]

Lyrically, many tracks have been described as "feel-good", carefree, and optimistic, including love song "Just the Way You Are" ("When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while"),[34] the friendship song "Count On Me" ("You can count on me like 1 2 3 / I'll be there"),[21][35] and "Marry You", a song singing of a spontaneous marriage idea.[19][36] In addition, "Runaway Baby" is a guitar-driven "snappy retro trip",[19][21] and "The Lazy Song" is described as a "hymn to sloth" and a "surf stoner's anthem" ("I be loungin' on the couch just chillin' in my Snuggie / click to MTV so they can teach me how to Dougie").[24][26][27] On the other hand, darker subjects are addressed in "Grenade", the album's masochistic heartbreak song ("Take a bullet straight through my brain / Yes, I would die for ya baby"),[19][36][37] "Talking to the Moon" ("Talking to the moon... / In hopes you're on the other side"),[19][36] and the reggae track "Liquor Store Blues" ("I'll take one shot for my pain / One drag for my sorrow").[28][30] The experimental collaboration "The Other Side" was frequently noted as the album's highlight, being the most complicated and having the best production.[1][24][38][39]

Singles[edit]

Bruno Mars performing in Houston, Texas, on November 24, 2010, on The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour

The very first single from the album was "The Other Side", featuring singer Cee Lo Green and rapper B.o.B, released in the form of EP titled It's Better If You Don't Understand.[40] The accompanying music video was directed by Nick Bilardello and Cameron Duddy, and was released in July 2010.[41][42]

"Just the Way You Are" was released as the album's official lead single on July 19, 2010.[43] It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks, having sold over 5.3 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has been certified five times platinum in the U.S.[44][45] It has also peaked at the top of the Australian Singles Chart, the Canadian Hot 100, the Dutch Top 40, the Irish Singles Chart, the New Zealand Singles Chart, and the UK Singles Chart, as well as within the top ten in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.[46][47][48][49] The music video was directed by Ethan Lader and was released on September 8, 2010.[9][50]

The second single "Grenade" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold 5.2 million copies in the US.[44] It has also peaked at the top of the Australian Singles Chart, the Canadian Hot 100, the UK Singles Chart, as well as at the top of the national charts in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland.[51][52][53][54] The music video, directed by Nabil, was released November 19, 2010 and features Mars dragging an upright piano through Los Angeles to sing to the girl of his affections, only to find out she is with another man.[55][56]

"The Lazy Song" was released as the album's third single, and was sent to U.S. mainstream radio on February 15, 2011.[57] It has peaked at the top of the UK Singles Chart and Danish Singles Chart, as well as entered the Top 10 within the national charts in Australia, Canada and the US.[51][58] In the United Kingdom the three singles from this album received commercial success reaching the top spot and selling a combined 2.2 million units.[44]

"Marry You" was released as the album's fourth single.[59] It entered the Top 10 within the national charts in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In the UK, it has just missed the Top 10 landing at #11 on the official UK Singles Chart. It also charted at #85 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States without an official release.[60]

The fifth single and overall from Doo-Wops & Hooligans was "Count On Me". The song was released as a radio single on November 7, 2011 in Australia, and has also been released in New Zealand.[61] It has also received strong airplay from popular Sydney FM station Hope 1032 (2CBA).[62][63]

Other songs[edit]

"Liquor Store Blues" featuring Damian Marley was released to the iTunes Store on September 21 as the album's promotional single.[64][65] "Liquor Store Blues" debuted at number ninety-seven on the Canadian Hot 100 for the week of October 1, 2010.[66] "Runaway Baby" charted in the UK, peaking at number 19, this was due Mars' performance on The X Factor the previous week.

In Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage, two songs can be heard from the album in the movie, namely "Count on Me" and "Talking to the Moon". Both are credited to Mars in the final credits.

Release and promotion[edit]

Doo-Wops & Hooligans saw its premiere on Myspace on September 24 and was released to digital retailers on October 4, then to stores on October 5, 2010.[9][67] A deluxe edition was released that includes two more tracks: a remix of "Just the Way You Are" featuring Lupe Fiasco and "Somewhere in Brooklyn", originally from It's Better If You Don't Understand.[65][68] The deluxe edition also includes the music videos of "Just the Way You Are" and "The Other Side".[68]

Mars premiered several of the album's songs during a performance at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 25, 2010.[69] He appeared as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live on October 9, 2010, alongside host Jane Lynch, and performed "Just the Way You Are", "Nothin' on You", and "Grenade".[70] Along with OneRepublic, Mars promoted the album opening for Maroon 5 on the fall leg of the Hands All Over Tour that began October 6, 2010. He also supported Travie McCoy on his European tour from mid-October through November 2010.[9] Atlantic has allowed the musical television series Glee to cover two songs from the album; "Just the Way You Are" and "Marry You" were performed on "Furt", an episode that aired in November 2010.[55]

iPhone app Tap Tap made a series of game based on the album. It is called Bruno Mars Revenge. It features all 10 hits off the standard version from the album.[71] Mars' song "Runaway Baby" was then used as opening song in the 2011 film Friends with Benefits.[72]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[73]
Consequence of Sound 4/5 stars[74]
The Daily Telegraph 4/5 stars[75]
Entertainment Weekly B+[19]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[25]
The Independent 3/5 stars[76]
The New Zealand Herald 3/5[31]
Q 2/5 stars[77]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[20]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[33]

Doo-Wops & Hooligans received generally positive reviews from music critics, it was given an averaged score of 61/100, based on 13 reviews, by aggregate website Metacritic.[18] Consequence of Sound's Kevin Barber called it "fulfilling [with] very few holes" and Mars "a fresh act with full confidence in his abilities in writing, producing, and performing."[74] Entertainment Weekly '​s Leah Greenblatt praised Mars' "instant-access melodies" and "sly snatches of dance-floor swagger", despite criticizing songs that deviate from conventional pop and soul styles.[19] Sean Fennessey of The Washington Post called it "effortlessly tuneful" and a good start to a "durable career".[27] Rolling Stone '​s Jody Rosen called the album "the year's finest debut" whose tracks "deliver pleasure without pretension".[20] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called Doo-Wops & Hooligans a "fantastically polyglot record that shows him to be a careful study across a range of pop songcraft", applauding its diverse range of influences.[23] Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski of The Daily Telegraph called it "a really exciting debut" and complimented "the Kanye West-style genre-bending on Grenade, The Other Side and Our First Time, which joins the dots between Michael Jackson and Bob Marley."[75]

In a mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent believed that the album "seeks too hard to display Mars' multifaceted talents".[76] Q felt that "mostly, he has little to say."[77] Tim Sendra of AllMusic called it "an uneven debut ... [that] doesn't tap into his potential as a writer or a producer".[73] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that "Bruno Mars's pop nous is spoiled by some unfortunate vegetable metaphors".[25] Eric Henderson writing for Slant Magazine criticized the album, saying it "manages to wear out its welcome about halfway through", calling it an attempt to "please just about everybody."[33] Scott Kara of The New Zealand Herald enjoyed the first two tracks of the album, but noted it could have had more of both titular elements to raise its "potency".[31] Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe was disappointed that the album lacked an autobiographical aspect to it, but otherwise commended Mars' delivery.[24]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Doo-Wops & Hooligans debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart for the week of October 13, 2010, selling 55,000 copies.[78] Since then the album has sold 2,310,000 copies in the United States and was also certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[79][80] The album debuted the same week on the Canadian Albums Chart at number six, and reached the top of the chart four months later.[81][82] The album peaked at number one in the UK, in the top five in New Zealand and Australia, and number twenty-nine in Ireland.[83][84][85] In 2011, Doo-Wops & Hooligans was certified Platinum in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK.[86][87][88][89] As of December 2011, the album had sold 1,101,185 copies in the UK, becoming the third album in 2011 to accumulate one million sales. Plus, it was the third best selling album of 2011, with 980,000 copies sold.[90][91][92][93] Debuting at number one, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is the first debut album of a foreign artist to reach number one on the German Albums Chart since Lady Gaga's The Fame did so in January 2010. In the week of August 25, 2013, Doo-Wops & Hooligans held at number 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the seventh week, enabling it to surpass Bob Marley & the Wailers’ 1984 compilation Legend for the most weeks at number 1 on the catalog chart in 2013.[94] Furthermore, Doo-Wops held at number 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the eleventh week. That enabled it to surpass Michael Jackson’s 2001 compilation Number Ones, the longest time an album by a male artist has logged at number 1 on this chart in a calendar year.[95]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Grenade"   Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Andrew Wyatt The Smeezingtons 3:42
2. "Just the Way You Are"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Khalil Walton, Khari Cain The Smeezingtons, Needlz 3:40
3. "Our First Time"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Dwayne Chin-quee, Mitchum Chin The Smeezingtons, Supa Dups 4:03
4. "Runaway Baby"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Brown The Smeezingtons 2:28
5. "The Lazy Song"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine, K'naan The Smeezingtons 3:09
6. "Marry You"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine The Smeezingtons 3:50
7. "Talking to the Moon"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Albert Winkler, Jeff Bhasker The Smeezingtons, Bhasker* 3:38
8. "Liquor Store Blues" (featuring Damian Marley) Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Chin-quee, Chin, Marley, Thomas Pentz The Smeezingtons, Supa Dups 3:49
9. "Count On Me"   Mars, Lawrence, Levine The Smeezingtons 3:17
10. "The Other Side" (featuring Cee Lo Green and B.o.B) Mars, Lawrence, Levine, Brown, Mike Caren, Patrick Stump, Kaveh Rastegar, John Wicks, Jeremy Ruzumna, Joshua Lopez, Bobby Simmons, Jr. The Smeezingtons 3:48
Total length:
35:26

(*) denotes co-producer

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[132] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[133] Platinum 20,000x
Belgium (BEA)[134] Platinum 30,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[135] Platinum 40,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[136] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Chile (IFPI Chile)[137] Gold 5,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[138] 2× Platinum 60,000^
France (SNEP)[139] 2× Platinum 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[140] 5× Gold 500,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[141] 4× Platinum 60,000x
Italy (FIMI)[142] Gold 30,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[143] Gold 100,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[144] Gold 30,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[145] 6× Platinum 90,000^
Philippines (PARI)[146] 2× Diamond 300,000x
Poland (ZPAV)[147] Gold 10,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[148] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[149] 5× Platinum 1,500,000^
United States (RIAA)[150] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[151] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Doo-Wops & Hooligans adapted from liner notes.[152]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label(s) Formats Edition
France[153] October 4, 2010 Warner Music Digital download Standard
United States[67][68] Atlantic, Elektra Standard, Deluxe
Austria[154] October 5, 2010 Warner Music CD Standard
Canada[155]
Mexico[156][157] Digital download Standard, Deluxe
United States[9][158] Atlantic, Elektra CD Standard, Deluxe
New Zealand[159] October 11, 2010 Warner Music Standard
Australia[160] October 15, 2010
United States[161] December 7, 2010 Atlantic, Elektra LP
Japan[97] January 12, 2011 (standard)
May 23, 2012 (platinum)[162]
Warner Music CD Standard
Germany[163] January 14, 2011 CD, LP
Denmark[164] January 17, 2011 CD, digital download
United Kingdom[96] Elektra
Poland[165] January 24, 2011 Warner Music
Brazil[166] February 18, 2011

References[edit]

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