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Talking to the Moon (song)

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"Talking to the Moon"
Single by Bruno Mars
from the album Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Released April 12, 2011
Format Digital download
Length 3:37
Songwriter(s) Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Albert Winkler, Jeff Bhasker
Producer(s) The Smeezingtons, Bhasker (co.)
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"The Lazy Song"
"Talking to the Moon"
"The Lazy Song"
"Talking to the Moon"

"Talking to the Moon" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars from his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010). The song was first unveiled on Mars' debut extended play, It's Better If You Don't Understand (2010), as its last track. It was written by Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Albert Winkler, and Jeff Bhasker, while production was handled by The Smeezingtons in collaboration with Bhasker. "Talking to the Moon", serves as the record's sixth track, and remains a pop song with power ballad influences, and its lyrics are about a failed relationship, solitude, and sadness. Instrumentally, the track relies on drum percussion and piano.

The song received mixed to positive reviews from critics who praised its slow pace and lyrics; however, it was criticized for its overwhelming production. The song was announced as a single only in Brazil, on April 12, 2011, through Warner Music Brasil, following its appearance on the soundtrack of the Brazilian telenovela Insensato Coração (Irrational Heart) from 2011. As a result, the track charted on the Brasil Hot 100 Airplay, where it spent several weeks at number one, and on the Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular. The song was performed many times during Mars' debut world tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010-2012), as the fourteenth track on its set list.[1]

Background and production[edit]

"Talking to the Moon" was first recorded by Mars for his debut EP, It's Better If You Don't Understand, which was released on May 11, 2010 under Elektra Records.[2] When asked about the lyrical content of the record, Mars stated that "[he] just [writes] songs that [he] strongly believe in and that are coming from inside. There's no tricks. It's honesty with big melodies. And [he is] singing the s*** out of them."[2] During an interview, Mars explained that after writing and producing songs for other artists, he thought that he could write a song for himself. He started writing the lyrics of "Talking To The Moon" while playing the piano.[3] The track was included five months later on his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, released on October 4, 2010 under the Elektra and Atlantic labels.[4] Mars also recorded an acoustic piano version included on the deluxe edition of the album.[5] Ari Levine of The Smeezingtons stated that "Talking To The Moon" was one of his favorite songs on the album and described how the song was conceived in an interview for Sound on Sound:[6]

"Talking to the Moon" was written by Albert Winkler, Jeff Bhasker, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Ari Levine, and produced by Mars, Lawrence, and Levine, while Bhasker co-produced the song. Levine and Mars played all the instruments on the track and recorded them; Levine was as well responsible for engineering 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.[7]


"Talking to the Moon" remains a pop and power ballad that lasts for 3 minutes and 7 seconds,[8][7][9] with a stripped-down production, and instrumentation consisting primarily of drums and a reverberated piano,[10][11] along with several synthesizers.[12] According to the digital sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song was written in the key of C# minor and was set in a four-four time signature with a ballad tempo of 73 beats per minute. Mars' vocal range spans from G3 to C5, and the song follows the chord progression E-G7-Cm-B-A.[13] His vocals on the hook of the record have been described as unusual for a pop song.[9] The initial 30 seconds of the track give away its opening using a soft piano.[12]

The song's lyrics describe feelings of loneliness, loss, and hope in the chorus: "Talking to the moon/Try to get to you/In hopes you're on the other side/Talking to me, too".[10] As the song continues, it shows the singer's vulnerable side with soft, sincere lyrics about a lost love that has now gone, according to Alex Young of Consequence of Sound.[14] A similar opinion was shared by Dan Pardalis of, noticing that Mars hopes "his message will somehow make its way to a lost former lover".[9] Sherri Thornhill of Yahoo!, believed the lyrics reveal the singer's hope that "his former flame is talking to the moon just as he is."[15]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received mixed to positive reviews from music critics on the release of the album. Alex Young of Consequence of Sound gave the song a positive review writing that the song "may be the best of this collection [album]", adding that "this track is primed for radio; a soft, sincere piano-driven song about a lost love that has now gone [...] belts the vulnerable Mars."[14] Yahoo!'s music critic, Sherri Thornhill, praised the song, calling it a "beauty" and "relatable", since the lyrics show the "heartbroken lover['s]" wish that his former lover is doing the same as he is - talking to the moon.[15] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's reviewer, Tyrone S. Reid, considered the song "beautifully written, waxing poetic about love and longing – a forte that the singer employs with great results in his work."[16] In a similar review, Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly felt that the debut studio album "aptly applies Mars’ studio his own postmillennial way", calling "Talking to the Moon" "woebegone", adding that "a malt-shop heart beats beneath [its] digital skin".[17] Emily Yang of The Signal stated that Mars "focuses on the slow pace of the drums and piano to convey his sorrow. He sings of loneliness which is almost palpable in the chorus."[10] Harris Decker of The Truth About Music, while reviewing his EP It's Better If You Do't Understand, called the song opening "spectacular", while stating that it "just gets better from there". The review concluded that, "with an over the top production, the chorus features a great hook and perfect balance".[12] When reviewing Mars' debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Decker continued praising "Talking to the Moon"'s production and dubbed Mars' voice as one of "the best vocal performances of the album".[11]

On the other hand, Bill Lamb of confessed about the recording that it "is possibly the weakest track simply because the heavy production threatens to overwhelm the centerpiece of Bruno Mars' singing because it is a big power jazz ballad that would work well from the stage."[8] In the same vein, Mike Diver of BBC Music considered the song "a ballad devoid of detectable emotion".[18] The same perspective was replicated by Jamie Milton from musicOMH, who called it a "over-sentimental ballad".[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

Following the track's inclusion on the soundtrack of Insensato Coração, which generated most of the song's success Warner Music Brasil decided to release it as an official single in Brazil on April 12, 2011.[20] After its release, "Talking to the Moon" charted on two Brazilian charts – Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular and the Brasil Hot 100 Airplay with it reaching the top position in both cases. The song spent nine weeks at number one on the latter chart,[21] while it topped the former chart for 22 weeks.[22][23][24] It became the fourth song with the most weeks spent at the top of Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular and[24] on Brasil Hot 100 Airplay it ranked seventh with the most weeks at number one as of 2012.[25] In 2017, "Talking to the Moon" debuted on the Japan Hot 100 at number 45.[26]

Usage in media[edit]

The song was used on the soundtrack of Brazilian telenovela Insensato Coração.[20] It was also used in the movie, A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures, with it being as well included on the movie soundtrack as a bonus song.[27] An acoustic piano version of "Talking to the Moon" was included on the charity compilation album, Songs for Japan, released on March 25, 2011.[28] "Talking to the Moon" was featured in the movie Think Like A Man, released in 2012, where the song was attributed to Mars in the final credits.[29]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios, Hollywood, California.
  • Mastered at Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood, California
  • Engineered at Levcon Studios, Hollywood, California.

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Doo-Wops & Hooligans.[7]


Chart (2011) Peak
Brazil Hot 100 Airplay (Billboard)[21] 1
Brazil Hot Pop Songs (Billboard)[24] 1
Chart (2017) Peak
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[26] 45


  1. ^ Holly Frith (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. ^ a b "Bruno Mars Blasts Off Into the Top Ten Albums Chart on iTunes With New Digital EP" (Press release). Marketwire. May 5, 2010. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Bruno Mars Interview – Exclusive". Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Doo-Wops & Hooligans". Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Doo-wops & Hooligans - edition collector". iTunes Store. October 5, 2010. Archived from the original on June 5, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  6. ^ Paul Tingen (June 2011). "Ari Levine & The Smeezingtons: Producing Bruno Mars". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Doo-Wops & Hooligans (CD booklet). Bruno Mars. United States: Elektra Entertainment Group. 2010. 2-525393. 
  8. ^ a b Lamb, Bill (May 11, 2010). "Bruno Mars - It's Better If You Don't Understand". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Pardalis, Dan (May 11, 2010). "Bruno Mars – It's Better If You Don't Understand EP Review". 411Mania., LLC. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Yang, Emily (May 10, 2010). "Album Review: Doo-Wops & Hooligans". The Signal. Georgia State University. Archived from the original on April 13, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Decker, Harris (October 5, 2010). "Album of the Month: Bruno Mars Dazzles In Debut Album". The Truth About Music. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Decker, Harris (May 12, 2010). "EP Review: Bruno Mars – "It's Better If You Don't Understand"". The Truth About Music. The Truth About Music, LCC. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Bruno Mars Talking to the Moon – Digital Sheet Music". Music Notes. EMI Music Publishing. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Young, Alex (December 3, 2010). "Album Review: Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans". Consequence of Sound. Consequence of Sound LCC. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Thornhill, Sherrri (December 2, 2010). "Bruno Mars Doo Wops & Hooligans CD Review". Yahoo! Voices. Yahoo. Archived from the original on January 28, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (September 29, 2010). "Doo-Wops & Hooligans Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time, Inc. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  18. ^ Diver, Mike (January 20, 2011). "Mars' solo debut is geared for maximum appeal". BBC Music. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  19. ^ Milton, Jamie (January 17, 2011). "Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops And Hooligans". musicOMH. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Bruno Mars estána trilha de "Insensato Coração"" (in Portuguese). Warner Music Brasil. June 21, 2011. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b BPP, ed. (2011). "Billboard Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil: 78–79. 
  22. ^ "Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular". Billboard Brasil. BPP (23): 96–97. July 2011. 
  23. ^ "Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular". Billboard Brasil. BPP (23): 96–97. September 2011. 
  24. ^ a b c "Billboard Brasil Hot Pop & Popular". Billboard Brasil. BPP (26): 144–145. December 2011 – January 2012. 
  25. ^ "Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil (Brasil: bpp) (2): 96. January 2012.
  26. ^ a b "Bruno Mars – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for Bruno Mars. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  27. ^ "Sammy's avonturen: De geheime doorgang Soundtrack" (in German). Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Songs for Japan by Various Artists". iTunes Store. March 25, 2011. Archived from the original on March 25, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Think Like a Man (2012) - Song Credits". Soundtrack.Net. Autotelics, LLC. April 20, 2012. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 

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