For those of us who spent most of autumn last year living in dread of the start of Christmas FM in our retail jobs, Bruno Mars was an almost tolerable alternative. The Lazy Song and Grenade struck gold at both ends of the “happy fun bubblegum” to “unrequited luv” pop spectrum. If they got a little more airtime than they should, well then that was what the customers wanted.

And let’s face it, even the sourest of retail moaners whistled along. The Lazy Song’s mild reggae vibe was just countercultural and catchy enough to keep us bopping amongst the Hallowe’en decorations.

Now the year has rolled around again. The foul shadow of Santa Baby looms dark and all-consuming, but still distant. Will Bruno Mars make a valiant, or even competent defence of the airwaves? If Locked out of Heaven, the lead single from Mars album number two, Unorthodox Jukebox is anything to go by, we’re pretty much doomed.

I like the groovy bassline, but the rest of the instrumentation weeps blandness. For a mostly vocal artist like Bruno Mars, this would be forgivable if the lyrics were up to anything. Sure, they’ll scream it in the club, but “locked out of heaven, yeah yeah yeah yeah,” doesn’t exactly torture the soul.

Before condemning Locked Out of Heaven to the depths of the sea of overplayed borepop, I have to ask something. What’s the deal with spamming the drum synth whistle? I turn off my alarm clock for a good reason. Whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop NO!



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