Despite being busted for coke possession at the beginning of his chart-dominating reign, Bruno Mars is still pretty much regarded as the kind of wholesome soul boy crooner you could take home to your parents for dinner. Perhaps tired of his hopeless romantic persona, his second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, sees him attempt to prove his bad-boy credentials with a series of sexually-charged come-ons, songs about strippers and womanising and even, shock! horror! the odd expletive, although the fact that they’re all wrapped up neatly in a typically sweet and melodic production kind of undermines his intentions. Here’s a look at five examples where Mars eschews his usual schmaltz:


Kicking off with a surprising reference to his drugs misdemeanour, Mars appears to fancy himself as something of a Prince-style sex magnet on this bizarre fusion of languid funk and hair metal. But coming from a man who has less sexual magnetism in his whole body than The Purple One does in his goatee, such dirty talk comes across as slightly sleazy, a vibe only accentuated by a chorus that appears to have been lifted from The Las Vegas Strip circa 1989: [LISTEN]

Yeah I got a fistful of your hair
But you don’t look like you’re scared
You’re just smiling tell me daddy it’s yours
Cause you know how I like it use a dirty little lover
If the neighbors call the cops, call the sheriff

Call the SWAT we don’t stop

We keep rocking while they knocking on our door


Proving that he’s as dramatic when he’s consumed with hate as he is when head over heels in love, “Natalie” acts as a severe warning to any future parasites hoping to get their mitts on his fortune. Against a backdrop of Stomp-like beats, Mars claims he’s prepared to spend jail time once he’s hunted down the ‘gold-digging bitch’ who’s stolen all his money on a track which has echoes of Liam Neeson’s ‘I will find you’ speech in Taken: [LISTEN]

Like my daddy I’m a gambling man
Never been afraid to roll the dice
But when I put my bet on her
Little miss snake eyes ruined my life
She better sleep with one eye open
Better make sure to lock her door
Cause once I get my hands on her, Imma ooohh

Money Make Her Smile

The only track which would have sounded out of place on a 1980s jukebox, this charmless slice of disjointed electro-R&B explains why Mars rarely succumbs to contemporary trends. Even more questionable is its slightly judgemental – and borderline misogynistic – attitude to the world of the strip club with Mars bigging up the talents of a particular girl before appearing to lambast her for the fact she’s only taking her clothes off for pure financial reasons: [LISTEN]

She’s a super freak 
You wouldn’t know it if you saw her outside these velvet walls 
No she don’t go where preachers preach 
She only go to the church when dollars foam 
Watch it drop it like… hey 

Young Girls

As anthemic and bombastic as anything on Doo-Wops & Hooligans, the opening track will immediately have his fans on board, even if its self-pitying message won’t. Seemingly unaware that it’s never a wise decision for millionaire pop stars to start bleating on about how hard it is to be surrounded by groupies at every waking moment, Mars tries in vain to gain sympathy for the fact his womanising lifestyle is hampering his ambitions of settling down. Good luck with that one! [LISTEN]

I get lost under these lights
I get lost in the words I say
Stop believing my own lies
Like everything will be okay
Oh I still dream of simple life
Boy meets girl, makes her his wife
But love don’t exist when you live like this that much I know, yes I know

Show Me

Cries of ‘Shabba’ permeate this hackneyed attempt at reggae-pop which with its steel drums, one-drop rhythms and Jamaican patois, ticks off every box on the clichéd checklist. Once again, Mars tries to present himself as some kind of super-stud on an ode to his prowess in the bedroom which even rhymes ‘room’ with ‘boom’ and ‘zoom’ with apparently little shame. Like the saying goes – the more someone talks about it, the less likely they are actually having it: [LISTEN]

It’s getting freaky in this room room room
Now let me hear you say you want that boom boom boom
We can take it slow, we can zoom zoom zoom
Baby if you’re ready for that I I I