Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars song)

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"Just the Way You Are"
Single by Bruno Mars
from the album Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Released July 20, 2010
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded May 7, 2009
Genre Pop, R&B
Length 3:40
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton, Khari Cain
Producer(s) The Smeezingtons, Needlz
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Billionaire"
(2010)
"Just the Way You Are"
(2010)
"Grenade"
(2010)

"Just the Way You Are" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars and is the lead single from his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010).[1] The song was written by The Smeezingtons, Khalil Walton and Needlz and produced by The Smeezingtons, and Needlz.[2] It was released in the United States on December 14, 2009. It has also received airplay from AOL Radio's New Pop First station.[3] The track was added to BBC Radio 1 A Playlist in the United Kingdom, and was released in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2010 as "Just the Way You Are (Amazing)".[4][5]

The debut single received generally positive reviews from critics, who considered it a stand-out track on Doo-Wops & Hooligans and praised The Smeezington's production. It won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2011 ceremony. The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts and charted in the top five in other countries. It was certified 5 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and 6 times by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Worldwide, it was the eighth best selling digital single of 2011 with sales of 12.2 million copies.[6] So far, it has sold over 13.2 million copies worldwide becoming one of the best selling digital singles of all time.[6][7] In 2012, Dominican musician Karlos Rosé covered the song in bachata as his debut single which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart.[8]

The music video, directed by Ethan Lader,[1] was released on September 8, 2010[9] and features Peruvian born Australian actress Nathalie Kelley. The official remix features rapper Lupe Fiasco and is included on the deluxe edition of Doo-Wops & Hooligans.[10] Mars performed "Just The Way You Are" on ­The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010–2012) and ­The Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013-2014), and was also performed at his Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. The song has been covered by various recording artists.

Writing and production[edit]

The song was written by The Smeezingtons, Khalil Walton, and Needlz. Bruno said of the song, "It took me months to come up with 'Just the Way You Are'... I wasn't thinking of anything deep or poetic. I was telling a story. Get ready to fall in love!"[11] He added, "I'm a big fan of songs like Joe Cocker's 'You Are So Beautiful' and Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' - songs that go straight to the point. You know, there's no mind-boggling lyrics or twists in the story - they just come directly from the heart. And to me 'Just The Way You Are' is one of those songs. There's nothing mind-blowing about it. I'm just telling a woman she looks beautiful the way she IS - and, let's be honest, what woman doesn't wanna hear those lyrics?!"[12] Mars' A&R who was responsible for finding songs and songwriters to help in the process of composing the song, Aaron Bay-Schuck, told HitQuarters that as soon as "Just the Way You Are" was finished they knew they had the first single, saying:

"It had a massive chorus, an instantly memorable melody and lyric, and was a natural transition from the B.o.B and Travie McCoy songs ... [Also] it didn’t sound like anything else on the radio. It had everything we could want in a first single for Bruno."[13]

Ari Levine explains: “Needlz had a track with a melody idea by Khalil Walton that was presented to us by one of the A&R guys. Bruno and Phil came up with the chorus, and then Needlz sent us the files and we replaced a bunch of sounds with our sounds and I programmed drums in the MPC, and we wrote the rest of the song. I never met Needlz or Walton".[14] The song was supposed to be for Lupe Fiasco but at this point Bruno decided to keep it.[15]

"Just the Way You Are" was Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios in Hollywood by Manny Marroquin, while Christian Plata and Erik Madrid served as the assistant mixing.[2] Ari Levine and Bruno Mars played all the instruments on the track and recorded them. Ari was also responsible for engineering the song at Levcon Studios in California.[2] Stephen Marcussen mastered the song at Marcussen Mastering in California.[2]

Release[edit]

"Just The Way You Are" was released as the lead single from Doo-Wops & Hooligans.[1] Elektra Records serviced the song to download in the United States on July 20, 2010.[3] On November 2, seven remixes were released as a purchasable download in US.[16] On September 19, 2010, the song was sent to United Kingdom to be released Mainstream Radio.[4] It was released as a CD single in Germany on September 22. The single contains the album version of the song and the remix by Skrillex Batboi.[17] The single ended up by being released worldwide on November 25, 2010.[18] On December 2, 2010, The Remixes - 12" Maxi was released in the UK and Denmark to promote the single and album.[19]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

An 18-second sample of the song's chorus

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Just The Way You Are" is a pop and R&B song[20] with an instrumentation that features piano,[21] keyboard sounds[20] and breakbeat.[22] The instruments are arranged into what critics described as a "nice smooth ballad with vocals".[20] Tim Byron of The Vine said "the steeply rising melody at the start of the chorus introduces a little tension before defusing it with the, catchy tag of the chorus, which is simple and effective as a hook".[23] The Guardian music reviewer, Paul Lester, describes the song as "fairly standard R&B pop, his vocal a breezy falsetto as characterless."[24]

The song is in the key of F Major and has a sequence of F-D-Minor-B-Flat-F.[21] Mars' vocal range spans from F4 to C6.[21] Billboard critic Megan Vick called "Just The Way You Are" "a feel-good jam, in which Mars' is able to take "to the next level" is dreamy soprano with a "breezy piano and vaguely hip-hop breakbeat"".[22] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly labeled the song "sweetly smitten ballad".[25] Nick Levin from Digital Spy describe it as an "huge-hearted urbany piano ballad with a similar instant classic feel to "Empire State of Mind"".[26] From The Guardian, Paul Lester says the lyrics are "about a girl Mars could "kiss all day"".[24] The song has been compared to a "U2 production" by Jon Caramanica of The New York Times[27] and by Andy Gill adding that he felt a "groove through R&B territory".[28] Tim Sendra of allmusic called the debut single "lushly romantic".[29] Scott Kara for the New Zealand Herald felt the song was a "ballad boogie".[30]

Lyrically, the song is about Mars professing "his love for a beautiful girl who occupies his dreams". Megan Vick for Billboard carries on with her explanation "Mars professes his love..."When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while/ 'Cause girl you're amazing, just the way you are". She concludes, "Mars' lyrics aim to make female listeners feel nothing short of perfect in their own skin".[22] Tim Byron of The Vine said the song is "effective – the repeated lines at the start of the verses are catchy".[23] Consequence of Sound's Kevin Barber described the song "Mars sticks to the song’s name and insists that he wouldn’t want to change anything about his particular gal.You believe him, too. With an undeniably catchy chorus".[31]

Reception and accolades[edit]

A gold gramophone trophy with a plaque set on a table
"Just the Way You Are" earned Mars a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards.

The song has been well received by music critics. Digital Spy's Nick Levine gave the song four out of five stars and described it as a "huge-hearted urbany piano ballad" and compared it to "Empire State of Mind" by Alicia Keys with a similar sound as the Keys song.[26] In her review for Billboard, Megan Vick wrote: "Over a breezy piano and vaguely hip-hop breakbeat, Mars professes his love for a beautiful girl who occupies his dreams [...] Mars pens lyrics that aim to make female listeners feel nothing short of perfect in their own skin. With its steady, danceable pulse and singalong chorus, Mars has created a feel-good jam that should establish him as a solo contender in his own right."[22] Nima Baniamer from Contactmusic.com felt that "there is nothing about the single that makes Bruno Mars stand out from all the other RnB artists dominating the charts at the moment", and said, "The song never builds to any climax and it simply falls a bit flat, coming across quite corny and cheesy."[32]

On February 13, 2011, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The single was nominated for several awards at 2011 Billboard Music Awards, but it ended up by winning only the category Top Radio Song.[33] It was nominated for Choice Music: Love Song at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards.[34] In the same year, the single won Most Performed Song at ASCAP Pop Music Awards.[35] In 2012, at the same award ceremony, it won, again, Most Performed Song and also Song of the Year.[36]

"Just the Way You Are" has sold 12.5 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. In 2013, as a celebration of the chart's 55th Anniversary, Billboard counted down the 100 biggest Hot 100 hits ever, the song was ranked at 74.[37] The song is also one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time placed at number 74 with sales around 1.17 million.[38]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song reached the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated October 2, 2010, ending the two-week reign of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream".[39] The song spent a total of 48 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting on August 7, 2010 and leaving the chart on July 2, 2011. By the end of December 2010, the song had sold over 3,280,000 digital copies in the US alone;[40] and by November 2013, it has sold 6 million downloads.[41] The song was certified five times platinum by the RIAA. The song jumped from 7 to 1 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart dated October 9, 2010.

On September 26, 2010, it became the singer's second number-one single in the United Kingdom,[5] where it hit the number-one spot again on October 24, 2010 [42] from sales of 116,000 copies[43] becoming the first song ever to have left the top three before rebounding to the top spot. It sold 766,000 copies during 2010, becoming the third biggest seller of the year.[44] On April 9, 2013 it was revealed that the song is the ninth most downloaded song of all time in the United Kingdom.[45] On 2 August 2011 "Just The Way You Are" became the 108th million-selling single in the UK, it took 43 weeks to reach there.[46] As of November 2012, the song has sold over 1,120,000 copies.[47] The Official Charts Company ranked the song as the 70th biggest selling single of all-time in UK.[48]

On October 12, 2010, Bruno Mars got his third number one single in the Dutch Top 40, after "Nothin' On You" and "Billionaire", having spent 11 weeks at number one in Netherlands.[49] The song also reached number one in Australia and certified six times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[50][51] The single debuted at number 31 in New Zealand on August 2, 2010. The song was number 1 for two weeks. The single was on the chart for 32 weeks.[52]

It debuted at number 8 on the Italian Singles Chart on November 4, 2010. The song ended up by peaking at number five, and it stayed on the chart for 1 weeks.[53] It was less successful on the French Singles Chart, where it peaked at number 33 and stayed on the chart for 28 weeks.[54] "Just The Way You Are" also peaked at number three in Switzerland,[55] at number one in the Republic of Ireland[56] and in the Netherlands,[57] at number four in Belgium (Flanders),[58] and at number 2 in Germany and Sweden.[59][60] It reached number six at Denmark.[19]

Music video[edit]

Development and synopsis[edit]

Bruno Mars arranging himself in a cassette tape in the shape of him playing the piano, in the music video.

The corresponding music video was directed by Ethan Lander and was shot in September 2010 in the downtown of Los Angeles.[61] The video features Peruvian-Australian actress Nathalie Kelley. Lander considers Bruno Mars a star. He adds "The charisma that he has, you can’t teach.” Finishing with "singer even manages to be suave in his mugshot, which is no small feat!"[62] He sees the video as a collaboration, the video dicrector came up with the vision and Mars added his vision and son on. The video is a mixture of live action and stopped animation and through the animation Bruno shows his girlfriend how beautiful she is. He takes a cassette tape and starts creating images out of the tape and they start to get a live of their own.[61]

The video begins with Kelley listening to "Just the Way You Are" on her Walkman as Mars walks in. Mars stops the tape player, removes the cassette tape and begins singing his song.[63] As the instrumental portion of the song begins, Mars pulls the media out of the cassette tape and arranges the media into letters forming his name followed by the song title. As the song continues, he forms a picture of a drum, again on the table, using the tape media. Additional images of similar construction follow throughout the video including a portrait of Mars as well as one of Kelley blinking her eyes and smiling as Mars continues singing. Most of the images shown are animated, including a bell which Mars rings with his fingers in synchronization with the chimes near the end of the song. Lastly, Mars finishes the song while singing and playing an upright piano while Kelley watches and smiles. The video was inspired by the artwork of Erika Iris Simmons.

Reception[edit]

It has received strong airplay on VH1 Europe, reaching #1 on the VH1 Pop Chart.[64] At the 2011 MTV Video Music Aid Japan the music video won Best Male Video.[65] In 2011, the video also received 3 nominations at the MuchMusic Video Awards.[66] It won Favorite International Video at the MYX Music Awards.[67] During the Channel [V] Thailand Music Video Awards received the award for Popular International Music Video.[68]

Live performances[edit]

Bruno Mars performed the song on Saturday Night Live on October 9, 2010.[69] The song was performed at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, on October 14, 2010.[70] A soulful arrangement of the song was sung for a Billboard Tastemakers video session, on October 22, 2010.[71] An acoustic version of the song was performed at Grammy Nominations concert in 2010 for the 53rd Grammy Awards.[72] Mars also performed it at the NBA All-Star Tip Off Pre-Show in February 2011.[73] The song was also performed on NBC's Today Show on June 24, 2011.[74] A live performance was also done on the French X Factor during the finale of the second season.[75] Carolina Frost for the Huffington Post said that Mars at the 2012 Brit Awards "took his poptastic song Just the Way You Are, and gave it a fresh jazzy arrangement." While Tweeter David Quantick summed up his opinion, asking if "someone came as a spare Osmond". Others praised Mars' vocality and confidence with his soulful rendition.[76] It was the twelfth song of his debut worldwide tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour[77] and was fourteenth on the set list of his second worldwide tour, The Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013).[78] The single was performed as the last song in his set list for his performance at Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show as a Tribute to the United States Armed Forces.[79]

Cover versions and remixes[edit]

A dark hair man wearing a blue shirt is
Cory Monteith is one of the artists who has covered "Just the Way You Are".

San Diego-based formed band, Pierce the Veil covered the track for the compilation album Punk Goes Pop 4, which was released on November 21, 2011.[80] Daniel Evans, a finalist on The X Factor (UK), included his version of the song on his album Wicked Game, released on December 2, 2013. The album contains covers from various artists.[81]

"Just the Way You Are" was performed by Cory Monteith for the American TV show Glee on episode "Furt", which aired on November 22, 2010.[82] It was also covered by Nathan Sykes from The Wanted, The Saturdays at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on October 29, 2010. Matt Cardle, the winner of the seventh series of British TV talent contest The X Factor, performed "Just the Way You Are" in week 2 of the live shows and later recorded his own version of the song as a B-side for his debut single "When We Collide".

Tje Austin performed the song during his blind audition on the premiere episode of the American reality talent show The Voice,[83] which was broadcast on April 26, 2011. The song is also a featured single on Kidz Bop 19. Parody rapper Rucka Rucka Ali used the instrumental for his song "Were All Asian". Stefano Langone covered the song on the 10th season of American Idol. In the same year, 2011, Christian pop group Anthem Lights covered a version of Bruno Mars' song (there's an one-minute-thirty-two-second fan-video posted by Lisa and ever seen on You Tube as of now, containing the actor Leonard Nimoy's footages with this version instead of Bruno Mars' original one).[84] Ukrainian post-hardcore band Make Me Famous also made a cover of the song,[85] just like Japanese-British pop singer MiChi.

In 2012, Dominican musician Karlos Rosé covered the song in bachata as his debut single which peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart and number one on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart in the United States.[8] The music video for his cover was filmed in New York City and directed by Robert Kruz.[86]

Following the release of the original version of the song came the remixes. Big Beat, a sublabel of Atlantic Records released these. Skrillex, Simon Steur and the Manufactured Superstars were among the names to remix the original version in to electronic dance music versions. These remixes did well in the clubs and on beatport.com, a leading legal download portal for EDM.

Track listing[edit]

The song was first made available to purchase online on July 20, 2010 in US.[87] Three months later, a Promo CD Single containing the album version was available for purchase.[19] In Germany a CD single was available for purchase on September 22, 2010 that included the Skrillex Batboi Remix along with the original version of the song.[17] On November 12, 2010 a Digital version that includes the version of the official remix of "Just The Way You Are" featuring Fiasco and the original version of the single was made available in UK and in Denkmark.[19] A deluxe edition which includes the remix and the music video was release on November 25, 2010 digitally worldwide.[18] On November 2, 2011 an EP that included several remixes was released worldwide.[16] A 12" Maxi CD that included the original version of the song and seven new remixes was released in UK and Denmark on December 2, 2010.[19] In US, a 12" Maxi CD was released including a remix of Billionaire and two new tracks "Voices in My Head" and "Dancing in the Mirror".[19]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Mixing and mastering
  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios, Hollywood, California; mastered at Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood, California; engineered at Levcon Studios, Hollywood, California.
Personnel
  • Songwriting – Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton, Needlz
  • Production – The Smeezingtons, Needlz
  • Mixing – Manny Marroquin
    • Assistant – Christian Plata, Erik Madrid
  • Mastering - Stephen Marcussen
  • Engineer – Ari Levine
  • All instruments played by – Ari Levine, Bruno Mars

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Elektra Records[2]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[135] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[136] Platinum 30,000x
Belgium (BEA)[137] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[138] 6× Platinum 480,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[139] Platinum 15,000^
Germany (BVMI)[140] Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI)[141] Platinum 30,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[142] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[143] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[144] Gold 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[145] Platinum 20,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[146] 2× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[147] 6× Platinum 6,200,000[41]

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

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label
United States[3] July 20, 2010 Contemporary, digital download Elektra Records
United Kingdom[4] September 19, 2010 Mainstream radio
Worldwide[19] September 20, 2010 CD single Warner Music Group
Germany[17] September 22, 2010 CD single Elektra Records
United States[16] November 2, 2010 Digital download Warner Music Group
Worldwide[18] November 25, 2010 Digital download Elektra Records
United Kingdom, Denmark[19] December 2, 2010 12" vinyl Paragon Records
United States[19] December 12, 2010 12-inch single Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]