A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that R&B talent Bruno Mars' sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox is different from his debut, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, in terms of content. That first record had some racy moments and references to casual sex, but generally exuded a lot of romantic love. Unorthodox Jukebox, on the other hand, has a nicely varied musical palette of ballads and uptempo dance songs, but exists in a cynical universe of gold-digging women, brokenhearted fools, and sex addicts. The opener, "Young Girls" is sung from the point of view of someone who can't get enough of "young wild girls." "Gorilla" is about sex fueled by cocaine and booze and includes a few curse words ("f--cking," "mother f--ker"). "Treasure" has one "motherf--cker," and in "Natalie" the singer is furious at a "gold-diggin' bitch." The album is best for older teens and up.
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What's the story?
UNORTHODOX JUKEBOX is the second full-length release from R&B artist/composer Bruno Mars. The 10 varied tracks include vintage soul ballads ("If I Knew"), sultry grooves ("Gorilla"), and uptempo dance and disco tunes ("Locked out of Heaven," "Treasure"). Lyrically, the material is fairly dark and occasionally sexually disturbing -- particularly the song "Gorilla," in which a sexual encounter is fueled by "a bottle full of liquor with a cocaine kicker." Before the album's release, two singles, "Young Girls" and "Locked out of Heaven" had already been on the Billboard Top 40 charts awhile, rising to No. 36 and No. 4, respectively.
Is it any good?
Bruno Mars' sophomore album is just not as easy to love as his previous album, Doowops & Hooligans. The productions and arrangements are varied and well- crafted, as uptempo dance songs are balanced with R&B and soul ballads, reggae rhythms, and slow grooves. And Mars is a compelling performer with almost Michael Jackson-like flexibility as a dancer and singer. However, the tone of these lyrics -- full of betrayal, cheap sex, and sadness -- is brutally dark and cynical. Then again, fans should probably expect the unexpected from one of the co-writers of Cee-Lo Green's "F**ck You."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sexual encounters on this release, particularly in the song "Gorilla." What is the album's point of view toward sex and relationships? Parents, talk to teens about your own values when it comes to these topics.
How does Unorthodox Jukebox differ in content and tone from Bruno Mars' previous release, Doowops & Hooligans? Which do you prefer, and why?
How does the character in the song "Young Girls" feel about himself?
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