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Liquor Store Blues

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"Liquor Store Blues"
Yellow bold letters on the right corner spelling "Bruno Mars", with the words "Liquor Store Blues ft. damien marley" bellow in withe color and with normal font. The word liquors come from a billboard sign promoting the store bellow.
Promotional single by Bruno Mars featuring Damian Marley from the album Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Released September 21, 2010
Format Digital download
Genre Reggae
Length 3:49
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Doo-Wops & Hooligans track listing
"Talking to the Moon"
(7)
"Liquor Store Blues"
(9)
"Count on Me"
(9)

"Liquor Store Blues" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars for his debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010), featuring vocals by Jamaican artist Damian Marley. It was released as the first promotional single from the record, on September 21, 2010 by Elektra Records in the United States; while in the rest of the world it was liberated by Warner Entertainment Group (WEG). "Liquor Store Blues" is a reggae track with dub influences produced by The Smeezingtons (Mars, Phillip Lawrence, Ari Levine) and Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee, while the writing was handled by the former three along with Damian Marley and Thomas Pentz, known professionally as Diplo. Musically, "Liquor Store Blues" has been described as borrowing "heavily from roots reggae" and from dub sounds, while lyrically it addresses a way of avoiding "foreshadowing" problems by drinking with hope that afterwards everything will be fine.

Upon its release, "Liquor Store Blues" received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised its reggae style and Damien Marley's appearance on the track, as well as, establishing comparisons to Mars' cocaine bust in Vegas as the song arrived shortly after the event aforementioned. The song peaked at number 97 on the Canadian Hot 100 and Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100, a component of the Billboard Hot 100, by peaking at number 105. The music video, directed by Jake Summer, was released on March 8, 2011 and features Bruno Mars and Damien Marley singing together with a colorful background and "acid-trip" visual effects, during the whole video. The song was performed many times during Mars' debut world tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010-2012), as the ninth track on its set list.[1] During the 2016 Grammy Awards, Mars had a flask, filled with a drink, to "get some winners drunk". The bottle is engraved with the lyrics, "One shot for my pain, one drag for my sorrow" from the song.[2]

Background and production[edit]

In an interview with Sound on Sound, Levine said that the team, The Smeezingtons, never met Supa Dups personally and that "Liquor Store Blues" was finished by exchanging files of the song. The latter producer helped finishing the track by providing a dub sound, something the three of them "could just not nail it".[3] During an interview granted to Vibe Mars said that he never met Damian Marley, since the latter did "his part" after a show in Washington. Nevertheless, the singer explained how Marley was guested in the song:

"Liquor Store Blues" was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Damien Marley and Thomas Pentz and produced by the former three, under their alias, The Smeezingtons, and Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee. The latter was in charge of programming and arranging the drums, which he played. Levine engineered the song at Levcon Studios in California. The mixing of the track was done at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood by Manny Marroquin, with Christian Plata and Erik Madrid serving as assistants. Stephen Marcussen mastered the song at Marcussen Mastering in California.[5]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Liquor Store Blues" was described as a "melodious boom-box midtempo" borrowing "heavily from roots reggae".[6][7] It is heavily influenced by dub music and having a moderate reggae groove.[8][9] Its composition has been compared to his previous project with Travis McCoy on "Billionaire" and Sublime's work.[10][11] According to the digital sheet music published by Alfred Music Publishing, the song was composed in common time and in the key of C# minor with a tempo of 144 beats per minute. Mars' and Marley's vocals range spans from the low note of G3 to the high note of C6.[9] The track is three minutes and fifty nine seconds.[12] The song's lyrics describe feelings of "pain" and "sorrow", using alcohol as method to flee "bad fortune in an odd foreshadowing of events". In the end, hope is found by "getting messed up today" since on the following day everything will be fine.[13][14] Tyrone S. Reid from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer considered that the record explores addiction in a "wonderfully, if humorously" way ("I take one shot for my pain, one drag for my sorrow/Get messed up today, I’ll be okay tomorrow").[6]

Critical reception[edit]

"Liquor Store Blues" received generally positive reviews by most music critics. Tyrone S. Reid, considered the song one of the best in the album, "You simply can’t get lyrics more droll or brainer than that." The addition of Damien Marley made the track "more alluring".[6] DJ Gravy praised the fact that the song "has a more authentic yard vibe, thanks to Black Chiney's Supa Dups", when comparing it to Mars and Travis McCoy's "Billionaire".[10] Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson panned the song as "sway gently with a hint of reggae swagger".[15] Kevin Barber from the Consequence of Sound, who positively reviewed the album, wrote "In return for all of his generous favors he has given other artists, they give back as well. Damien Marley joins him on the reggae jam".[16] Idolator's writer Robbie Daw had a mixed opinion towards the song by writing that the recording "isn’t nearly as infectious as "Just The Way You Are", [but] it should still make for a fairly decent album track in what we’re hoping is a tasty plateful of catchy future singles". He found the tune to be "reggae-tinged jam".[17] Scott Mervis of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette felt that "Liquor Store Blues" was in a "heavier dub zone with toaster Damian Marley" furthering a personal matter "the young singer should have stuck to the liquor store 'cause he was busted for cocaine in Vegas last month".[18] Andrew Winistorfer of Prefix Magazine criticized the artist, saying "After conquering the ladies who love weak pop music that is sung by a competent if boring singer, Bruno Mars has decided to try to carve off a chunk of Sublime's fans". He concluded by deeming the recording a "faux reggae track".[11] A writer for Rap-Up magazine commented that the recording's lyrics regard "a quick escape from his bad fortune in an odd foreshadowing of events".[13] Similarly, while reviewing the music video, Entertainment Weekly's, Brad Wete stated that the content of the lyrics saying "Mars aims to "get messed up today" in hopes that he’ll "be okay tomorrow"".[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

After being released as a promotional single, "Liquor Store Blues", entered the Canadian Hot 100 at number 97.[19] Around the same time, it failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100, however it peaked inside of the Bubbling Under Hot 100, which acts as an extension of the former chart, peaking at number 105.[20] On October 22, 2010 it entered and peaked at number 20 on the US Latin Pop Airplay, spending 7 weeks on the former chart.[21]

Music video[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

Mars and Marley in a shot from the official music video.

The music video was directed by Jack Summer, and was premiered exclusive on March 3, 2011 for members of Bruno Mars' official website.[22][23] The video features Bruno Mars and Damien Marley singing together in a psychedelic room with a colorful background and "acid-trip" visual effects.[24][25] Thorough the clip "plumes of smoke" emerge in the screen in every direction with Marley "rapping about being "high as Superman" and shouting out pineapple kush", while Mars is upset about something.[14][24] They both drown "their sorrows in the colorful visuals".[24]

Reception[edit]

The video has been described as "psychedelic" and as an anthem to Marijuana, rather than one about drunkenness.[11][14][24] Brad Wete for Entertainment Weekly explained that Mars was "ready to drown his sorrows in a tall glass of alcohol" and tipped "find out what concoction Mars and Marley are whipping up" by watching the clip.[14] Prefix Magazine 's Andrew Winistorfer gave the video a harsh critic, he wrote that the smoke was not the only featured in the video as anyone "get to see Damian Marley sell out in real time". He furthered that Damian, "might as well be in McDonald's commercials. I guess this song is supposed to make you THINK about stuff [...] but mostly it makes me try to find someone to blame for this".[11]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[12]
No. Title Length
1. "Liquor Store Blues" (featuring Damian Marley) 3:49

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and mixing
  • Recorded at Larrabee Recording Studios and Levcon Studios in Los Angeles, California;
  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood, California.
Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Elektra Records.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[19] 97
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[20] 5
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)[21] 20

Release[edit]

Process[edit]

On September 21, 2010, the song was released worldwide as the first promotional single as an iTunes Store-exclusive prior to Doo-Wops & Hooligans album release in October 2010, under Elektra Records.[26] In the countries outside the United States, such as Germany, it was released under WEG.[12]

History[edit]

Promotional release
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Germany September 21, 2010 Digital download
(iTunes countdown single)
WEG [12]
Worldwide Elektra Records [26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frith, Holly (August 17, 2013). "Bruno Mars Brings 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans' To London on UK Tour". Gigwise. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ Fisher, Kendall (February 16, 2016). "Bruno Mars Got Everybody Drunk at the 2016 Grammys and Here Are the Pics to Prove It". E! Online. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ Tingen, Paul (June 2011). "Ari Levine & The Smeezingtons: Producing Bruno Mars". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on April 29, 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Hope, Clover (October 4, 2010). "Bruno Mars on Damian Marley Track, Hip-Hop Influences, B.o.B.". Vibe. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Doo-Wops & Hooligans (CD booklet). Bruno Mars. United States: Elektra Entertainment Group. 2010. 2-525393. 
  6. ^ a b c Tyrone S. Reid (April 26, 2011). "Music Review: Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ Caramanica, Jon (October 5, 2010). "Bruno Mars in Ascension". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ Capobianco, Ken (October 25, 2010). "Bruno Mars, 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans'". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Bruno Mars - Liquor Store Blues (Digital Download)". Music Notes. Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Gravy, DJ. "Ova-Mars: Bruno Mars x Damian Marley's "Liquor Store Blues" Video". LargeUp. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d Winistorfer, Andrew (March 4, 2011). "Bruno Mars: "Liquor Store Blues" f. Damian Marley (Video)". Prefix Magazine. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Liquor Store Blues (feat. Damian Marley) - Single". iTunes. Archived from the original on June 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "New Music: Bruno Mars f/ Damian Marley – 'Liquor Store Blues'". Rap-Up. September 21, 2010. Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Wete, Brad (March 4, 2011). "Bruno Mars tries to drink (and maybe smoke) the pain away in 'Liquor Store Blues' video: Watch it here". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ Henderson, Eric (October 7, 2010). "Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops & Hooligans". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ Barber, Kevin (December 3, 2010). "Album Review: Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ Daw, Robbie (September 21, 2010). "Bruno Mars Gets Messed Up With Damian Marley On "Liquor Store Blues"". Idolator. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  18. ^ Mervis, Scott (October 7, 2010). "For the Record: Bruno Mars". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Bruno Mars – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Bruno Mars. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Bruno Mars – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Bruno Mars. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Bruno Mars – Chart history" Billboard Latin Pop Songs for Bruno Mars. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "Liquor Store Blues". United States: MTV Music. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ "New Video: Liquor Store Blues feat. Damien Marley Premiering Tomorrow!". Brunomars.com. March 2, 2011. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Video: Bruno Mars f/ Damien Marley – "Liquor Store Blues"". Rap-Up. March 3, 2011. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  25. ^ Fresh, Mikey (March 4, 2011). "New Video: Bruno Mars Feat. Damian Marley 'Liquor Store Blues'". Vibe. Archived from the original on August 27, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Bruno Mars Soars to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart With Debut Single "Just The Way You Are"; Single Lands the Top Position on UK Midweek Chart; Elektra Artist Slated for October 9th Performance on Saturday Night Live; Dates Already Sold Out on First-Ever U.S. Headline Tour; "Doo-Wops & Hooligans", Arrives October 5th". Marketwire (Press release). September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on November 26, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 

External links[edit]