Moonshine (Bruno Mars song)

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Promotional single by Bruno Mars from the album Unorthodox Jukebox
Released November 19, 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2012
Length 3:49
Label Atlantic Records
  • Bhasker
  • Ronson
  • The Smeezingtons
Unorthodox Jukebox track listing
"When I Was Your Man"

"Moonshine" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, from his second studio album Unorthodox Jukebox (2012). The song was written by Bruno Mars, Jeff Bhasker, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, while production was handled by Bhasker, Ronson and The Smeezingtons.[2][3]

"Moonshine" is a midtempo disco, power pop and quiet storm song, about longing for the high water mark of a relationship that now seems impossible to reach. It was compared to the works of Michael Jackson. It received favorable reviews from music critics, who noted that it is a "nostalgic" intoxicating and melodramatic track.


After his 2010 debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, which produced the singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade",[4] Mars revealed he wanted to create something unexpected with its follow-up.[5] "This is me going into the studio and recording and writing whatever I want," Mars said confidently. "This album represents my freedom."[4] The Smeezingtons, co-wrote and co-produced the track, the latter was also handled by Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie.[4][6] Ronson told Rolling Stone about the invitation to work with Mars, explaining, "I was traveling in Zanzibar on my honeymoon when I got this call: 'Do you want to meet Bruno Mars?,'" Mark Ronson says. "I was only kind of familiar with his music. But we met up in London a month later, and the first thing he said was, 'I want to sound exactly the opposite of what a Mark Ronson collaboration with Bruno Mars is supposed to sound like.' That won me over – and then I found out what a phenomenal talent he is. This is the most progressive music I've worked on yet. It's going to open up the arteries and change the sound of music."[5]

"Ive been jammin to this song for a while now. I hope yall can groove wit me and slide wit me but most important BOK wit me #Moonshine."

—Mars tweeting about the song.[7]

Mars explained to Rolling Stone the origin of Moonshine, stating, "We all went out one night, and they had actual moonshine on the menu. We drank it all night, then headed to the studio – Jeff got on keyboards, Mark starts playing electronic drums that sound like Eighties Prince and I started screaming, 'Moonshine, take us to the stars!' There were a lot of nights like that."[8] "Moonshine" was released as the second promotional single from the album, on November 19, 2012.[7]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

A 22-second sample of "Moonshine".

Problems playing this file? See media help.
Many critics compared "Moonshine" to the work of American recording artist Michael Jackson.

"Moonshine" was written by Jeff Bhasker, Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, while production was handled by the latter three production-team The Smeezingtons, Bhasker and Ronson.[9] It is a mid-tempo disco, power pop and quiet storm song,[8] where Mars croons about longing for the high water mark of a relationship that now seems impossible to reach.[10] Mark Ronson provides "80s-informed" backing track colored by flanged guitar notes and moody chord progressions.[10] Andrew Chan of Slant Magazine called its sound "power-pop-meets-quiet-storm."[1] "Hello, you know you look even better than the way you did the night before/And the moment that you kissed my lips you know I start to feel wonderful/It’s something incredible/It’s sex in your chemicals," he sings in the first verse before the chorus comes in.[11] "Oh moonshine, take us to the stars tonight/Take us to that special place/That place we went the last time, the last time."[11]

Chris Martins of Spin wrote that the song "channels the King of Pop, Michael Jackson with a markedly more reverent aplomb.[10] Richard of DJ Booth echoed the same thought, writing that he "never detected a strong MJ influence in Mars’ vocals before, but here, over Jeff Bhasker and Nicky Romero‘s throwback grooves, the linkage could hardly be more apparent."[12] Sam Lansky of Idolator agreed, writing that "he is channeling Michael Jackson, with a little bit of Prince in there too.[13] TJ of Neon Limelight concurred, seeing "a very Off The Wall-era groove."[11] Matt Diehl saw a "Daft Punk-worthy disco groove" on it.[8] Matt Cibula of PopMatters perceived that the song "has an amusing Simple Minds-like lope, but the chorus ends up sounding a bit like 'Heartbeat', the epically icky mid-80s single from Don Johnson."[14]



The song has received generally favorable reviews from critics. Chris Martins of Spin called the song "'wonderfall', as Mars might say," writing that "While we were slightly disappointed to learn that the song was not, in fact, an ode to bootleg liquor, Mars' lyrics intoxicate in their own way."[10] Sam Lanksy of Idolator praised the track, writing that it "is probably our favorite effort from Mars to date."[13] TJ of Neon Limelight called it "intoxicating,"[11] while Richard of DJ Booth named it "a lightly funky, ‘80s-informed style."[12] Sarah Rodman of Boston Globe called it "wistful."[15] Amy Dawson of Metro UK commented that "Moonshine’s melodic, mid-tempo disco makes a genuinely decent stab at channelling Michael Jackson."[16]

Jon Caramanica of New York Times called it "melodramatic and spry," commenting that "the song feels bigger than the contours Mr. Mars can give it. It demands a yowler. It could use Adam Lambert."[17] Jason Lipshut of Billboard wrote that the song is "decidedly retro and caked with cheesy flecks of synthesizer. The production is so buttery that the listener can't help but get another sugar rush."[18] Jessica Sager of Pop Crush opined that "echoes and sparse production make this sound similar to a Phil Collins track, but in Mars’ song, a midtempo beat kicks it into modern gear.[19] Tina Jamias of Examiner recommended, "Watch the turning point of an 80s movie and listen to 'Moonshine'. Perfect match."[20]

Chart performance[edit]

It debuted at number 1 on the Tipparade in Netherlandes, on January 4, 2014.

Following the release of Unorthodox Jukebox, "Moonshine" debuted at number 17 on the "South Korea International Download Chart," with 11, 360 copies sold. In the second week, the song fell to number 35, with 6, 442 copies sold.[21]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "Moonshine"   3:49

Credits and personnel[edit]



Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2012–13) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 30
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[23] 4
France (SNEP)[24] 117
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[25] 32
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 1
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[27] 11
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[28] 62
South Korea International Singles (Gaon)[21] 17

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Note
Brazil[29] November 19, 2012 Digital download Atlantic Records Promotional single
New Zealand[30]
United States[29]
Europe[31] October 25, 2013 Contemporary hit radio Warner Music Group N/A
South America[31]


  1. ^ a b c Chan, Andrew (December 9, 2012). "Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mit neuer Single Moonshine in den Herbst". Österreich (in German). September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "VÖ-Vorschau" (in German). Beatblogger. September 8, 2013. Archived from the original on September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Peters, Mitchell (October 1, 2012). "Bruno Mars: The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Diehl, Matt (November 21, 2012). "Bruno Mars and Diplo Hit Paris Strip Club for 'Unorthodox' Inspiration". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ Peters, Mitchell (October 1, 2012). "Bruno Mars: The Billboard Cover Story (Pag. 2)". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Corner, Lewis (November 19, 2012). "Bruno Mars announces new single 'Moonshine' - listen". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Diehl, Matt (November 13, 2012). "Bruno Mars Recruits Dream Team of Producers for 'Unorthodox Jukebox'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Unorthodox Jukebox (CD liner). Bruno Mars. Atlantic Records. 533064-2. 
  10. ^ a b c d Martins, Chris (December 19, 2012). "Hear Bruno Mars (Unofficially) Imitate Michael Jackson in 'Moonshine'". Spin. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d TJ (November 19, 2012). "New Music: Bruno Mars – Moonshine". Neon Limelight. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Richard (November 19, 2012). "Bruno Mars - Moonshine - Listen". DJ Booth. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Lansky, Sam (November 19, 2012). "Bruno Mars' "Moonshine": Hear Him Channel Michael Jackson On New Song". Idolator. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  14. ^ Cibula, Matt (December 12, 2012). "Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox". PopMatters. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  15. ^ Rodman, Sarah (December 11, 2012). "Bruno Mars offers romance, reggae, and raunch in latest". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Dawson, Amy (December 7, 2012). "Bruno Mars's Unorthodox Jukebox is a punchy and soulful pop record". Metro UK. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ Caramanica, Jon (December 12, 2012). "Molding Himself to the Moment". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  18. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (December 11, 2012). "Bruno Mars, 'Unorthodox Jukebox': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard (New York). Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ Sager, Jessica (December 4, 2012). "Bruno Mars, 'Unorthodox Jukebox' - Album Review". Pop Crush. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  20. ^ Jamias, Tina (January 9, 2013). "Album Review - Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox (Photos)". 
  21. ^ a b "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: December 9, 2012 to December 15, 2012)". Gaon Chart. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  22. ^ " – Bruno Mars – Moonshine" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ " – Bruno Mars – Moonshine" (in French). Ultratip.
  24. ^ " – Bruno Mars – Moonshine" (in French). Les classement single.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bruno Mars search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  26. ^ " – Bruno Mars – Moonshine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100.
  28. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20134 into search.
  29. ^ a b "Moonshine – Single de Bruno Mars". iTunes Store (BR) (in Portuguese). Apple. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Moonshine – Single by Bruno Mars". iTunes Store (NZ). Apple. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Bruno Mars – Novos Singles 'Gorilla' E 'Moonshine'" (in Portuguese). Warner Music Brasil. September 25, 2013. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]